PEORIA, AZ There are three big screens in the Seattle clubhouse in the Peoria Stadium Complex, and on none of them Thursday was the arrival of newsmaking Mariner left fielder Milton Bradley — even a glimmer.
It was all about Detroits Miguel Cabrera, who is in the headlines after an arrest, reportedly for drunk driving. What will the Tigers do with Cabrera, who has a history of alcohol trouble, including in the 2009 playoffs when Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski had to pick him up at a police station during the playoff series against the Minnesota Twins?
And it was all about Albert Pujols, the St. Louis slugger surrounded by television cameras because he and the Cardinals cant get together on a contract extension, meaning the 31-year-old Pujols will be the free agent of the decade when his contract with St. Louis ends after this season.
Just because it wasnt about Bradley in Peoria Thursday doesnt mean the Mariners get a free pass on this one. Bradley, after all, was arrested on a felony charge of making threats against his wife in January.
He isnt expected to face criminal charges, although he still must meet with the district attorney in Los Angeles, where the whole thing came down back on Jan 19.
Other than a few “Hellos, Bradley didnt talk to the media Thursday and he probably will not be talking about the incident much ever his attorney has advised him against it.
That doesnt mean that the questions wont be asked, though, and any time that happens, theres always a chance for a headline, depending on the question and the response.
Seattle manager Eric Wedge has been down this road before with Bradley, when both men were in Cleveland, and with other players during the seven years Wedge was at the helm of the Indians. Wedge and Bradley, who were at odds in Cleveland, had a lengthy conversation Thursday.
Asked by Sportspress Northwest Thursday what hed do to make sure Bradley doesnt become a Pujols-esque or even Cabrera-esque problem, Wedge waltzed around the question like a finalist on Dancing with the Stars.
“I dont want to talk about something that hasnt happened, Wedge said. “Lets get things going and have guys start playing and see where that takes us.
“There always will be situations that as a club you have to deal with. My one rule is that you dont let it get in the way of baseball. Thats why my job is called `manager and not `head coach. I have to manage people and manage the situation.
Tony La Russa in St. Louis and Jim Leyland in Detroit know the feeling. But there are times when the situation gets out of the managers hands. Wedge has to be ready for that, and he knows it.
“My level of concern is based on the players knowing what I expect from them, Wedge said. “Thats my focus right now.
How long it will be allowed to remain his sole focus is anyones guess.
Bradley arrived one day early at camp. Position players are due for the physical exams Friday, then the full team works out for the first time Saturday.
John Hickey is a Senior MLB Writer for AOL FanHouse (www.fanhouse.com)