By Kirby Arnold Herald Writer
Wakamatsu said he spoke with Milton Bradley about the incident Friday in Texas, where cameras captured the controversial outfielder displaying his middle finger after he’d been taunted by fans.
“He opened up and talked about the pressure,” Wakamatsu said of their meeting. “We talked a lot about relying on us to alleviate some of that and he doesn’t have to carry this club by himself. So, he responded to it and was open.”
Bradley’s first day in Seattle as a Mariner began with a mild ovation from the crowd during pregame introductions, but he also received a mock cheer from fans near left field late in the game.
That happened in the eighth inning after he fielded Ryan Sweeney’s single to left field. In the previous inning, Bradley committed an error when he over-ran a single by Gabe Gross.
Bradley went 0-for-1 with two walks Monday, leaving him 1-for-22 this season.
It’s not what the Mariners or Bradley expect from a hitter they need to be an RBI producer in the middle of the lineup, although Wakamatsu said he tried to ease that expectation when they spoke.
“I think he has found a comfort level with the ballclub and in not wanting to let his teammates down,” Wakamatsu said. “It’s trying to get him to understand he doesn’t need to carry this club and put all that pressure on himself.”
And if Bradley can ignore the distractions in the grandstand, all the better. Wakamatsu said they talked about “not fueling the fire.”
“There are going to be people looking for him and I understand that, but lead by example,” Wakamatsu said. “He was remorseful in our conversation. He cares a lot and lot of fans don’t realize he cares sometimes too much about his performance.”
Snell leaves after death in family
Pitcher Ian Snell flew home to Florida on Monday after the death of a family member and is expected to make his scheduled start on Saturday against the Tigers.
The Mariners weren’t specific on who in Snell’s family died; only that he pitched Sunday at Texas knowing there was a crisis. He didn’t learn of the death until after Sunday’s game, manager Don Wakamatsu said.
Wakamatsu believes the situation affected Snell’s performance, when he gave up eight hits, two walks and four earned runs in three innings against the Rangers.
“I took a trip (to the mound) wondering on the velocities and I do think it did have an effect on him,” Wakamatsu said. “There were two different incidents, one that happened a couple of days ago and this one we didn’t know about until after the game.”
Cliff Lee is scheduled to throw 60 pitches in the bullpen this afternoon and, if his strained abdomen continues to feel good, will pitch a simulated game on Friday. … Erik Bedard will throw a “light” bullpen on Wednesday, then another of about 60 pitches Friday, Wakamatsu said. … Outfielder Ryan Langerhans cleared waivers and was outrighted to Class AAA Tacoma. He made the opening-day roster but was designated for assignment Thursday after the Mariners quickly aborted their plan to carry an 11-man pitching staff. … Monday’s attendance of 45,876 was announced as a sellout, although it was the third-smallest for a home opener since the stadium’s first full season in 2000.
Read Kirby Arnold’s blog on the Mariners at www.heraldnet.com/marinersblog