Bradley injured after getting tossed
Padres outfielder has MRI after bizarre incident with ump
SAN DIEGO -- This qualifies as bizarre, even for San Diego outfielder Milton Bradley.
Bradley, who has earned a reputation as being temperamental in his career, was ejected during the eighth inning of Sunday's 7-3 loss to the Rockies by first-base umpire Mike Winters after the two exchanged words.
Only it's not that simple, said Padres first-base coach Bobby Meacham, who witnessed the incident and said it is Winters and not Bradley who should bear the burden of guilt after what occurred in front of a crowd of 37,984 at PETCO Park.
"Everyone is going to make a twist that Milton Bradley blew up again," Meacham said. "This kid [Bradley] is doing a great job holding it together. He's not going to get thrown out because he knows his team needs him. But there's no possible way a man is going to stand there and take what he said to Milton.
"In 26 years of baseball, I couldn't believe my ears the way that he spoke to Milton. [It] was so disrespectful, so angry, so vindictive. The boiling point is when he called Milton a name. Milton did not saying anything to him to get him to do that."
The incident didn't begin with what happened in the eighth inning after Bradley reached base after a single, which was about the only thing the Padres and the umpire crew were in complete agreement on.
Bradley was called out on strikes to end the fifth inning. Plate umpire Brian Runge told the Associated Press that Bradley "... flipped the bat right in front of me, about 5 to 10 feet in front of me."
Runge asked Bradley before his eighth-inning at bat if Bradley had flipped his bat in the direction of Runge intentionally.
"He said 'no,'" Runge said. "He said, 'Did he [Winters] tell you that I threw at you? He started to point at Mike. I said 'no, no.' I even threw my hands up and told him to calm down."
Once Bradley arrived at first base, he engaged in what essentially appeared to be a tame conversation with Winters, who was standing behind him while play continued. That's when things got strange.
"I get a hit and I go to first base, and I asked him [Winters] 'Did you tell him I threw my bat at him?'," Bradley said. "He said, 'Yeah, you did.' I said, 'Are you kidding me? That's completely ridiculous. Why would you do that? Why were you even watching me? If I strike out, the inning's over, why are you even looking at me.'"
It was about then, when, according to Meacham, a fan in the seats down the first-base line yelled something from the stands directed toward Winters.
"Someone from the stands booed the umpire and Milton pointed to the guys in the stands. He didn't say anything, [he] didn't look at him. Then the umpire went off on Milton and called him a name," Meacham said. "If he had said that to me, I would have charged him."
The crew chief, Bruce Froemming, said Winter's actions were justified. Winters was not made available for comment after the game by Froemming.
"He got grumpy with Mike Winters," Froemming said. "Winters told him to knock it off and he continued it. There is no covering up what he did. He had to be physically restrained. We're not going to put up with that."
Bradley suffered an injury to his right knee when Padres manager Bud Black separated him from Winters. Bradley fell to the ground and clutched his knee. He then had to be helped from the field and complained of soreness in his knee after the game.
"It's killing me," Bradley said before leaving to have an MRI to assess the damage.
Meacham said that he was incensed further when the rest of the umpiring crew came over to where the incident occurred and Winters explained to Froemming what had happened.
"When he explained it to the other umpires when Buddy came out [it was a] straight lie," Meacham said. "I heard what he said and asked him why he was lying. He explained it to me again what he said and I said, 'That's a lie. You're wrong. You made a mistake. You lied.'"
Bradley said this was another case of him being unfairly maligned for past incidents. He shared that same sentiment earlier this month after he was ejected from a game against Arizona by home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi for not leaving the batter's box quickly enough. Bradley never said a word in that incident before being ejected.
"All I do is try go out there and play baseball hard. I've done everything in my power to do things the right way," Bradley said. "That guy, Mike Winters, no reason for it. There is no reason for that. You don't ride people. He kept talking to me. He wouldn't stop. If he tries to say I did anything wrong, it's completely ludicrous.
"It's terrible, and now because of him my knee's hurt. If he costs me my season because of that, he needs to be reprimanded. I'm going to take some action."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.