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About time Piniella put Bradley in his place
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 6/26/2009 7:48 PM

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It would be hard to find anyone in Chicago these days who likes Milton Bradley, let alone anyone willing to manage him.

But here's the thing: Lou Piniella doesn't have any choice.

He does have to manage Bradley and somehow find a way to make him productive.

See, the Cubs have 21/2 more years of Bradley and still will owe him $25 million once his option vests for 2011.

Look, as Lou is wont to say, the guy's been nothing short of a disaster from the minute he got here, but he's getting paid a fortune to be the big left-handed bat Piniella was begging for in the off-season.

He might not have asked for Bradley, but he did want more lefties in the lineup and someone who brought a big bat.

So far Bradley has used it only to destroy various devices designed to hold beverages and at the moment looks like one of the worst free-agent signings in Cubs history.

But there's an awful lot of time left on his contract, and it's Piniella's responsibility to get something from the guy.

Whether it's holding hands on the bus or a brawl in the tunnel - which is mildly overstating what occurred Friday on the South Side during the Cubs' 5-4 victory over the White Sox - Piniella has to find a way to make it work and make Bradley a functioning part of the club.

Piniella finally started doing his job Friday, at least in regards to Bradley, when he followed him into the clubhouse and told Bradley to start doing his job. He ordered Bradley, in so many words, to stop acting like an idiot and to start taking out his anger on the ball instead of equipment and water coolers.

After a heated exchange, he insisted Bradley remove his uniform and go home.

"I've looked the other way a lot and I've had enough," Piniella said. "I'm not happy this (confrontation) happened, but it's time."

It is time. It's time for Bradley to grow up and time for Piniella to do precisely what he was brought here to do, which is manage the situations Dusty Baker refused to manage.

Piniella has to do it, because as sure as the sun will set and the creek will rise, there's no getting rid of Bradley and his contract.

Leaving no option

Don't know where the discussion of Lou Piniella quitting at the end of this year began, but here's where it ends:

Piniella will collect $4 million in 2010 for merely putting on the uniform and showing up at the park, since the Cubs picked up that expensive option last fall.

"Lou isn't going anywhere," says GM Jim Hendry. "I just talked to him and he's fine. His energy is great and his enthusiasm hasn't changed a bit.

"Has this been tough on everyone? Of course it has, but no one's giving up here. As bad as it's been, we started the day a game back in the loss column.

"We have plenty of time to turn it around."

Just managing

While current Cub and former Yank Lou Piniella has his troubles, former Cub and current Yank Joe Girardi is hearing it in New York, where some think he's already in trouble.

"That's ridiculous. What's he supposed to do," Ozzie Guillen said Friday. "But when you manage that kind of club in a city like that, you have to know that goes with it.

"It depends what day it is. When you win two in a row, you're a hero. When you lose two, they want to fire you.

"I went through that last week. I was great and then I was (bleep) because I pitched (Scott) Linebrink and he has a bad day. That's part of the game. You got to suck it up and live with it.

"Everybody wants to manage. They think it's the greatest job in the world. I say careful what you wish for."

Set the Betamax

On Sunday at 4:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet will air "The Foundation of Charlie Weis," an exclusive, 60-minute program detailing the off-the-field life of Notre Dame's head football coach and focusing on 14-year-old daughter Hannah, who is severely developmentally challenged.

For more info on his foundation, visit

Sight seen

Three hours before Friday's game, pitching coaches Don Cooper and Larry Rothschild relaxing in the stands near the Cubs' dugout. They might have been discussing their shock that both staffs are in the top seven in ERA in all of baseball.

Sound heard

Alexei Ramirez loudly booed after popping out in the sixth in a tie game with a man on and nobody out. Ozzie Guillen's aggravation with Ramirez is spreading to the natives, who are getting restless.

Flipping the switch

Lou Piniella, on the adventures of Milton Bradley: "Switch hitting is a big advantage once the game starts, but it's a heck of a lot of work to keep a good swing from both sides of the plate."

The quote

Ozzie Guillen on the late Michael Jackson: "Two months ago they hate him. Now everybody loves him."

This just in -

Geovany Soto has tested positive for Cheetos.

Best line

Sox broadcaster Steve Stone on Soto's 3-run blast: "He smoked it."

Next best line

Lou Piniella, when told of Ozzie Guillen's comments about him: "If I'm the face of baseball, baseball's in big trouble."

And finally -

Alfonso Soriano, on Milton Bradley: "We like him, except for his attitude."