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Bradley has hearing for suspension appeal

Bradley has hearing for appeal

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HOUSTON -- Chicago Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley went through his hearing with Major League Baseball on Wednesday afternoon, appealing his two-game suspension for an incident April 16 in a game against St. Louis at Wrigley Field.

Bradley was ejected from that game by home-plate umpire Larry Vanover after being called out on strikes on a 3-2 pitch in the sixth inning. He was later suspended for two games for making contact with Vanover.

Bradley said no decision was announced during the nearly two-hour hearing, but he expected to hear something in the next two days. He started Wednesday night's game at Houston, batting third in the order.

The hearing was done by conference call with Bradley and a Cubs representative at Minute Maid Park. Also participating were Vanover and a representative from the umpires' organization, plus officials from Major League Baseball. The tape of the incident was replayed.

"I watched the whole video for the first time [Wednesday]," Bradley said. "You can see when I walked around the catcher, there was no cursing on my part, not threats. [Vanover] took off his mask and walked toward me. You can actually see me stepping back. You'd need a forensic expert [to see a bump].

"I'm a 220-pound guy. If I bump into you, there's going to be a reaction. I wasn't happy about being tossed. It was my first at-bat at Wrigley. It was not what I wanted.

"In that situation, bases loaded, I wouldn't walk away not swinging the bat. I think anybody watching it would say [the pitch] was not a strike.

"You're going to get kicked out of the game every now and then anyway, and you're going to be upset. Anybody is. This suspension and the steps that are being taken are pretty over the top."

Bradley said there is no doubt in his mind that his past problems in baseball played a part in the suspension.

"It's about me," he said. "I'm trying to leave the past in the past. I've had incidents in the past, and I've accepted being suspended."

He said he didn't even know until two days later there was going to be a suspension.

"I had no idea anything was coming out of it," he said. "Lou [Piniella] came out to me in the outfield when I was shagging balls. I was shocked. So I knew I had to appeal."

Bradley was bothered by a groin injury at the time.

"Being that I was banged up at the time, it would have been easy to take the suspension and sit out these days because I wasn't playing as it was."

He said it was a matter of principle, because he truly believes he is right.

"I wanted to tell the truth about it," he said. "A reduction [of the suspension] would be warranted. A reduction to zero games would be justified."

Gene Duffey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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