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Piniella supports Bradley's appeal of suspension
By Jerry Fitzpatrick | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 4/19/2009 7:17 AM

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The Cubs intend to stand by their man.

Right-fielder Milton Bradley was suspended for two games and fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball on Saturday for his actions in the sixth inning of Thursday's 7-4 loss to St. Louis, when he was ejected for arguing a called third strike in a pinch-hitting appearance.

MLB said Bradley is appealing the ruling. A Cubs spokesman said Bradley, who didn't make himself available to the media Saturday, "indicated he will reserve comment for the appeals process."

"He's going to appeal it, and we're going to support him on that," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "Outside of that, there's not much more to say."

Piniella then said a little more.

"It's kind of harsh - two days - and he feels that he wants to get his side heard. We'll go with that."

With wet, chilly conditions expected for tonight's nationally televised series finale against St. Louis, followed by a scheduled off-day Monday, Piniella was asked if Bradley and the Cubs would be better off accepting the two-game suspension now since the 31-year-old has not started a game since he injured his groin last Sunday in Milwaukee.

"That's a good question, really, you know?" Piniella said. "The big thing is the club and the individual both feel that two days is a heavy load or a heavy penalty to pay for what transpired."

So this decision was based on principle?

"It's probably as much principle as anything, yes," Piniella said.

Before Saturday's game Bradley shagged flyballs and ran the bases. The switch hitter also launched the last two batting-practice pitches he saw into the left-field bleachers from the right side of the plate.

He pinch hit in the ninth inning Saturday and grounded out.

Let's pitch two: Closer Kevin Gregg told manager Lou Piniella before Saturday's game that he was rested and ready to throw two innings if necessary.

"I sat down and actually talked to Lou today," Gregg said. "Lou knew where we were at with the bullpen and the amount of work that we put in. I had four days off. I told him if you need me for two (innings), I've got that in the tank. Let's let the game dictate the situation.

"Sure enough, I got two today. I'm here to pitch and get outs. Whether it's getting three outs or getting six outs. Gregg retired six straight hitters, striking out two.

Notable: Kosuke Fukudome's third-inning, run-scoring double was his ninth extra-base hit in his last nine games. Fukudome has hit safely in eight of his last nine games. ... Alfonso Soriano's third-inning single extended his hitting streak to seven games. ... Shortstop Ryan Theriot's triple in the fifth inning was the first triple of the year and first in 17 games dating to Sept. 21, 2008.

From the peanut gallery: Former Cub Mark Grace, in town to broadcast Saturday's game with Thom Brennaman for Fox, interrupted manager Lou Piniella's pregame news conference in the dugout, joking loudly, "Don't (mess) it up today, Lou."

"That's hard for me not to do, I can tell you that," Piniella replied, grinning.