BALTIMORE, JULY 30 -- The Baltimore Orioles' biggest series so far this season got off to a tumultuous start early this morning when embittered outfielder Phil Bradley was traded to the Chicago White Sox for power-hitting Ron Kittle.

Orioles General Manager Roland Hemond announced the trade at about 1:45 a.m. from Scranton, Pa., where he was watching the Orioles' Class AAA Rochester farm club. The trade came at an important time: The Orioles played the first of three games against the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays tonight.

Hemond said Kittle, 32, fills one of the Orioles' crucial needs. "We have been looking to add some power for a long time," he said. "And Kittle fits that mold. Bradley did some good work for this club, but we felt we needed some more right-handed power."

Hemond said the trade, apparently completed by early afternoon, was announced so late because the White Sox had an 11-inning game Sunday against Milwaukee and Kittle had not been notified. The trade came two days before the trade deadline -- midnight Tuesday -- after which a player must clear waivers before being traded.

Bradley was en route to Boston -- where the White Sox began a series tonight -- and unavailable for comment, but said in a radio interview that "since the team had been playing so well lately, I was surprised that they would make a move right now."

Last week Bradley, who is in the last year of a two-year contract, called an Orioles' offer of $1.3 million for one more year "a humiliation." But Orioles Manager Frank Robinson said today Bradley's contract dispute was not a distraction and did not affect the team's chemistry.

Kittle's $550,000 contract also expires at the end of this season.

"If an individual comes in that is disruptive, the chemistry of the team can be adversely affected," Robinson said. "But Ron Kittle will fit in here. I'm confident."

Kittle and Bradley are as different as two ballplayers can be. Bradley, 31, is a speedy, creative contact hitter who was batting .270 with four homers and 26 RBI. Kittle, a designated hitter-first baseman, is a do-or-die hitter who accumulates home runs and strikeouts in bunches. He was batting .245 with a team-leading 16 homers and 43 RBI. He struck out 77 times in 277 at-bats.

Kittle played three innings at first base and was hitless in two at-bats in tonight's 9-2 loss to Toronto.

"We are getting someone that can't do some of things Phil Bradley can do," Robinson said. "But Kittle can do some things Phil can't."

The trade puts the status of designated hitter-catcher Mickey Tettleton in question, though Hemond said "Mickey is still part of our efforts to win games."

Tettleton, a switch-hitter, has been the Orioles' main right-handed designated hitter, but is batting .226 with 12 homers and 112 strikeouts in 301 at-bats.

The solid play of the team's young outfielders, especially Brady Anderson and Mike Devereaux, also made the trade feasible for the Orioles. "We felt that we could afford to trade Phil," Robinson said. "We have some people that give us the things Phil was apt at giving us."

Kittle walked into the clubhouse at 3:42 this afternoon, shook hands with his new teammates and started to unpack. By 4:21 he was in uniform, and at 4:26 he addressed the media for the first time.

"I'm never surprised at what goes on in the game of baseball," he said. "But it's great to leave one contender and come to another. I'm excited to have a new uniform on."

He added: "I've been known to tell it like it is. . . . I didn't do anything bad to initiate this trade. Maybe they just don't like Ron Kittle. {General Manager Larry} Himes doesn't like me, but then again he's not on my Christmas card list either."