Dodger outfielder Milton Bradley, who is undergoing anger-management treatment, was arrested for investigation of disorderly conduct in Ohio early on Thanksgiving.
Bradley was cited for a misdemeanor and released. He is scheduled to appear in court Friday in Copley Township, a suburb of Akron. If convicted, he could receive up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
The Dodgers did not learn of the arrest until Monday. Bradley has had a series of temper-related incidents on and off the field, but for now the Dodgers are downplaying the problem and continue to support him.
“However minor this incident may be, we are disappointed that there was an incident,” General Manager Paul DePodesta said. “We have already spoken with Milton and will continue to be both stern and supportive, as you would with any member of your family whom you care about when there is a problem.”
Bradley, 26, was suspended for the last five games of the regular season and fined $15,000 after he threw down a plastic bottle at the feet of a spectator in the front row and unleashed a tirade at Dodger Stadium fans during a game Sept. 28 against the Colorado Rockies. The bottle had been thrown near him while he was standing in right field.
Bradley expressed remorse afterward and said he would seek anger-management counseling. However, little more than a week later he had a dispute with Times reporter Jason Reid before a playoff game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Dodgers said Monday that Bradley was undergoing treatment and was committed to overcoming the problem. The team has already spoken to his counselor and to police. “We are continuing our investigation and will decide upon appropriate action when that investigation is complete,” DePodesta said. “In the meantime, we are pleased with Milton’s dedication to his counseling program, though we all understand that his counseling is in its nascent stage.”
According to Copley Township Police Chief Michael Mier, the incident began when police stopped a woman for weaving on an interstate. Bradley, a friend of the woman, was driving another car ahead of her. He stopped at an offramp, walked back along the highway and screamed at the officer for stopping the woman.
“The officer had to tell him several times to return to his vehicle, and he refused to do so,” Mier said.
Bradley at one point put his hands behind his back and, according to Mier, said to the officer, “Go ahead and arrest me.” The officer did.
The woman was not cited.
Neither Bradley nor his attorney was available for comment.
The Dodgers knew of Bradley’s periodic outbursts when they obtained him in a trade with the Cleveland Indians in April. In fact, he was available because the Indians had tired of his behavior.
Bradley, a Long Beach Poly High alumnus, batted .267 with 19 home runs in 141 games and willingly moved from center to right field when the Dodgers added Steve Finley on July 31.
“When we traded for Milton, we knew everything that came along with it,” DePodesta said during the season. “We don’t necessarily expect that everything is going to be completely different because he’s come to a different place, and that’s fine. I would take nine Milton Bradleys if I could get them.”
Whether the succession of problems causes the Dodgers to reevaluate that stance remains to be seen. Bradley earned $1.73 million last season and is eligible for arbitration.
Besides the bottle-throwing incident and the altercation with Reid, Bradley’s career has been marred by several other episodes:
* He was suspended for four games and fined $2,500 on June 3 in response to a contentious exchange with plate umpire Terry Craft two days earlier against the Milwaukee Brewers. After Craft ejected him, Bradley grabbed a bag of balls from the dugout and dumped them near third base.
* While playing for the Indians, Bradley was pulled from an exhibition game April 2 for not running out a pop fly that fell for a single. He and Manager Eric Wedge had an argument afterward and Bradley was traded to the Dodgers two days later for a top prospect, outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, and another minor leaguer.
* Bradley drove away from a Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, police officer before signing a speeding ticket in August 2003, and pleaded guilty to obstructing official business. He was sentenced to three days in jail, but on the day he was to surrender his attorney filed an appeal. The case is pending.
* Emergency medical personnel took Bradley to a hospital from a restaurant after he refused to leave in April 2002. According to the medical report, Bradley was “severely intoxicated.”
* Bradley was suspended for seven games in April 1999 for spitting gum at an umpire while playing at triple-A Harrisburg, Pa. Bradley had been ejected for charging the mound after being hit by a pitch.