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Bradley Had Problems at Home Too

Times Staff Writers

Redondo Beach police responded to domestic violence reports at the home of Milton Bradley three times in a 33-day period this summer, including an instance in which the Dodger outfielder allegedly choked his pregnant wife and injured her lip, authorities said Tuesday.

Three 911 calls were made to the Redondo Beach Police Department between June 28 and July 30, at least one of them by the Dodger center fielder. The Bradleys were neither arrested nor charged with a crime in connection with any of the police visits, and in a statement Tuesday Milton Bradley called a report of the incidents “exaggerated.” The calls were first reported by the Daily Breeze.

On July 11, police said they arrived to find Monique Bradley with a bloody lip, sustained when her husband “grabbed her right hand and pushed her hand against her mouth,” according to a police report of her account. Her name was redacted from the documents released Tuesday.

Bradley also held his wife against a wall by placing his right forearm across her throat, according to the police report. She was four months pregnant at the time. When Bradley released her, she told police she “went to the bathroom and threw up.”

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Monique Bradley had called 911 from a neighbor’s house, according to the report, and Milton Bradley was not home when an officer arrived at 4:55 p.m. She told police her husband had hurled her cellphone against a bedroom headboard, gathered the couple’s cellphones, house phones, car keys and credit cards, then left the house.

“Had he been there on the 11th, we would have arrested him. I guarantee it,” said Redondo Beach Police Sgt. Phil Keenan, the second officer to arrive at the scene. “She was desirous of prosecution. There was injury.

“And that’s our standard -- physical injury and desirous of arrest. That’s enough to arrest him.”

No warrant was issued and police did not return to the house until Milton Bradley called 911 on July 30, when officers entered the home, spoke to the couple, and left.

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According to a charge evaluation worksheet dated July 14, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office and Deputy D.A. Mary T. Suzukawa declined to press charges in the July 11 incident because of “insufficient evidence.”

The sheet also reads, “Victim stated suspect used his hand to grab her hand to force her to hit herself in the face. Victim was interviewed a [second] time and changed her stories. [Insufficient] to prove to jury beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In the June 28 incident, a 911 operator responded to a hang-up by returning the call to the Bradley residence. Milton Bradley answered the phone and identified himself as a professional baseball player, according to a police dispatch brief, and alleged that his wife had struck and scratched him. He told the operator his wife was angry because she believed he was cheating on her. Police officers went to the house, where they determined that neither party wanted to press charges.

Monique Bradley, answering the door at the couple’s Redondo Beach home Tuesday, declined to comment and said her husband was not home.

Bradley, 27, is out for the remainder of the season because of a knee injury that will require surgery.

“The events written about are very regrettable. Any problems reported have been exaggerated but nonetheless, my wife and I have resolved all issues,” he said in a statement. “The incidents reported will remain private and personal. At this time, I am choosing to handle this matter and all future matters directly and confidentially with the Dodgers.”

After an incident late last season in which he slammed a plastic bottle toward fans during a game at Dodger Stadium, tore off his jersey on his way from the field and subsequently was suspended for five games, Bradley began team-supervised counseling for anger management.

He then was charged on a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct after interfering with a traffic stop on an Ohio highway in November, however, and in December served three days in an Ohio jail for driving away while being issued a speeding ticket -- an offense that occurred in August 2003 while he was a member of the Cleveland Indians.

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Now, in the wake of his recent disagreement with teammate Jeff Kent, whom he accused of being racist, his disregard for Manager Jim Tracy’s request to refrain from discussing the issue further with the media, and the news of a domestic violence allegation, Bradley is unlikely to return to the Dodgers next season.

A career .269 hitter who has 32 home runs and 105 runs batted in in 216 games with the Dodgers, Bradley injured his left knee Aug. 22 and is expected to undergo surgery. The Dodgers’ options are to retain Bradley, non-tender him by the Dec. 20 deadline, trade him or release him. Bradley cleared waivers this month, so he could be traded, but the pending surgery would make that difficult, if not impossible. Their preference is to have Bradley heal and hope another organization rates Bradley’s talent over his potential behavioral issues.

“Dodger owner Frank McCourt and I have made it crystal clear that character is an essential attribute for everyone within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization,” Dodger General Manager Paul DePodesta said in a statement. “As we have already stated, Milton Bradley has health issues that we expect he will address. We are disappointed that he is facing challenges away from the ballpark, but we are confident he will confront these issues as well.”

Dodger officials said they were unaware of the domestic disputes and the 911 calls.

“We were [aware] that Milton was not entirely happy at different points away from the field, as we are aware of that with some of our other players. But at no point were we aware of any actual incident or any actual issue whatsoever,” DePodesta told reporters in a conference call.

As for Bradley’s future with the Dodgers, DePodesta said, “You never know what might happen. But he has to work through all those issues not just to our satisfaction but to the satisfaction of our entire organization and our fans for that to be possible.”

While Bradley’s teammates have often found him to be a sullen figure in the clubhouse, Bradley has been one of the Dodgers’ most productive hitters when healthy. He came to the organization at the start of the 2004 season after quarreling with his manager in Cleveland, Eric Wedge, but formed a deep bond with Tracy, and spoke of gaining on his anger-management issues.

Last week, approached by the veteran Kent about hustling more -- the same concern expressed by Wedge 17 months before -- Bradley lashed out again.

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“I tried to be his friend,” teammate Ricky Ledee said. “It’s hard because he likes to keep to himself, but we talked about our families. I’m like everyone in here. We care about him and his family and want him to overcome his problems, baseball aside.”

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Bradley incidents

A history of Milton Bradley’s run-ins:

* August 2005 -- Three days after being confronted by Dodger second baseman Jeff Kent for not hustling, Bradley accuses Kent of badgering him all season and not understanding African Americans. After meeting with Dodger owner Frank McCourt, Bradley is diagnosed with a torn patella tendon and put on the disabled list.

* Summer 2005 -- Police respond to reports of domestic violence at Bradley’s Redondo Beach home on June 28, July 11 and July 30. In one instance, he allegedly choked his pregnant wife, bloodied her lip and threw a cellphone into a wall. He was not arrested in any of the incidents.

* December 2004 -- Bradley serves three days in jail stemming from an August 2003 incident in which he drove away from a police officer in Ohio before signing a speeding ticket. He pleads guilty to obstructing official business. In a separate traffic-related incident in Ohio, Bradley pleads guilty to a fourth-degree misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct stemming from a Nov. 25, 2004, arrest for yelling at a police officer. He pays a $175 fine and receives a suspended jail sentence. Bradley stopped his car after his friend had been pulled over in another car and screamed at the officer to arrest him.

* October 2004 -- Bradley has a clubhouse confrontation with Los Angeles Times reporter Jason Reid when Reid asks Bradley about his treatment by St. Louis fans after a playoff game.

* September 2004 -- Bradley is suspended for five games and fined $15,000 for slamming a plastic bottle at the feet of fans at Dodger Stadium after a fan threw the bottle onto the field near Bradley.

* June 2004 -- Bradley is suspended for four games and fined $2,500 for a contentious exchange with umpire Terry Craft after being ejected. Bradley grabbed a ball bag and hurled the contents onto the field.

* April 2004 -- Bradley is pulled from a Cleveland Indian exhibition game for not running out a pop fly that fell for a single. He argues with Manager Eric Wedge and is traded to the Dodgers two days later for top prospect Franklin Gutierrez and another minor leaguer.

* April 2002 -- Emergency medical personnel take Bradley to a hospital after he refuses to leave a Cleveland restaurant. According to the medical report, he was severely intoxicated.

* April 1999 -- Bradley, a Montreal prospect, is suspended for seven games for spitting gum at an umpire during a minor league game. He had been ejected for charging the mound after being hit by a pitch.

-- STEVE HENSON

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Times staff writer Steve Henson, in Chicago, contributed to this report.


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