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Padres OF Milton Bradley Has Torn ACL

By BERNIE WILSON
The Associated Press
Monday, September 24, 2007; 11:13 PM

-- Milton Bradley is done for the season, Mike Cameron might not be in much better shape and the livid San Diego Padres tried to regroup Monday from a bizarre chain of events that left their outfield depleted with a week to go in the season.

Bradley will miss the rest of the year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He was injured when his own manager spun him to the ground while trying to keep him from going after umpire Mike Winters during an eighth-inning confrontation in Sunday's 7-3 loss to Colorado at Petco Park.

The commissioner's office said Monday it is investigating whether the volatile Bradley was baited by Winters. The Padres said Winters directed profanities at Bradley right before the blowup.

"I know there will be a thorough investigation of the dialogue between Milton and Mike Winters," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said before San Diego opened a three-game series in San Francisco. "I have a lot of confidence there will be due process and it will be handled well. For Milton's sake, he certainly has the support of our ballclub."

Black, the Padres' first-year manager, called it an unfortunate development for a team that had its wild-card lead trimmed to just a half-game over Philadelphia. Bradley, the club's starting left fielder, was playing in his third game after missing 12 with a muscle injury.

"I feel bad for Milton," Black said. "I feel bad for him because I know he was coming back from the oblique and he was looking forward to playing here down the stretch.

"He's a very strong guy. My thought was, 'I've got to do everything I can to keep Milton away from any confrontation because if he gets suspended it's going to cost us games.'"

Bradley will seek a second opinion in Cincinnati. Towers expects him to have surgery for a "significant" tear within about a week. The recovery process is expected to be at least six months.

Batting .313, Bradley hit his 11th homer with San Diego and 13th overall earlier in Sunday's game.

Cameron, a Gold Glove center fielder, has a partially torn ligament in his right thumb and a strain in the same area. He was hurt when he made a sliding attempt at Garrett Atkins' inside-the-park home run in the fifth inning Sunday, then had Bradley step on his hand.

Cameron will wear a wrap for four or five days and could pinch run. There's no guarantee he would be ready to return even next week if the Padres make the playoffs.

Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said the commissioner's office is looking into whether Bradley was baited by Winters. The investigation is headed by Mike Port, major league baseball's vice president of umpiring, who reports to executive vice president Jimmie Lee Solomon.

Players union general counsel Michael Weiner said the association is waiting to see whether MLB does something before deciding whether to take action.

Bradley, whose volatile temper has overshadowed his talent during his career, called Winters' action "the most unprofessional and most ridiculous thing I've ever seen."

"It's terrible. And now, because of him, my knee's hurt," Bradley said Sunday. "If this costs me my season because of that, he needs to be reprimanded. I'm taking some action. I'm not going to stand pat and accept this."

The confrontation began after plate umpire Brian Runge asked Bradley if he had flipped his bat in the ump's direction after taking a called third strike to end the fifth. Runge indicated that Winters told him that Bradley had.

The dispute escalated after Bradley singled, then asked Winters if he told Runge he threw his bat.

First base coach Bobby Meacham and Black said Winters used profanity.

"You guys couldn't print it," Black told reporters in San Francisco. "In this situation, it escalated to a point where some things shouldn't have been said. I didn't hear what Mike said. My understanding is ... they were profane."

Before Monday night's game, Cameron turned to teammate Chris Young in the Padres' clubhouse at AT&T Park and said, "C.Y., we've got to call somebody. That same crew has our last series." San Diego plays four games at Milwaukee starting Thursday.

Cameron said the confrontation could have been avoided.

"I don't think umpires should get emotionally involved," he said. "That is Milton's office just as much as it's Mike Winters' office. You can't get your work done if there's always confrontation. As much as we say he is a guy prone to sensitive situations, I might have done the same thing," Cameron said about Bradley.

Needing a fast fix in the outfield, the Padres obtained Jason Lane from Houston for a player to be named or cash Monday. Lane could help fill in this week, but if the Padres secure their third straight playoff berth he wouldn't be eligible to play in the postseason because was acquired after Aug. 31.

On Tuesday, the Padres will recall infielder Chase Headley, purchase the contract of outfielder Drew Macias and place Bradley on the 60-day disabled list in order to put Macias on the 40-man roster.

___

AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York and AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this report.

© 2007 The Associated Press