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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
LOS ANGELES - Milton Bradley is getting another fresh start.
The Dodgers unloaded the switch-hitting outfielder Tuesday, sending him to the Athletics with infielder Antonio Perez, a former Devil Ray, for minor-league outfielder Andre Ethier, the Texas League player of the year.
"I couldn't be happier," Bradley said during a conference call. "I'm playing major-league baseball and having fun. I'm a California guy; it's exciting for me."
Acquired by the Dodgers shortly before the start of the 2004 season after a run-in with Indians manager Eric Wedge, Bradley feuded with teammate Jeff Kent last season.
"As far as my dealings with Jeff Kent, we got along as well as we could," Bradley said. "It didn't work for me."
Bradley didn't play after accusing Kent of a lack of leadership and an inability to deal with African-American players Aug. 23. The next day, Bradley learned he had sustained serious injuries to his left knee that required surgery.
It was became public later in August that police responded three times to Bradley's home in nearby Redondo Beach on domestic violence calls, but he wasn't arrested or charged.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, hired last month, didn't think a reconciliation was possible.
"It was clearer and clearer there was no way to make this thing work," he said. "At every turn, I just got stopped. I got it from a lot of different places including inside the clubhouse, outside the clubhouse, people who have known him very well and have known him for a long time."
Bradley, 27, has played more than 100 games twice in a six-year career. Last season he hit .290 with a .484 slugging percentage and a .350 on-base percentage in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium but was limited to 75 games.
SORIANO JOINS NATS: The Nationals completed their first major offseason move when the Alfonso Soriano trade became official. The next challenge is figuring out where he's going to play.
Washington obtained the four-time All-Star second baseman from Texas for outfielders Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge and minor-league pitcher Armando Galarraga. The teams agreed to the deal last week during the winter meetings in Dallas.
Washington already has an All-Star second baseman, Jose Vidro, and Soriano has resisted attempts to move to the outfield. General manager Jim Bowden said he had yet to speak to Soriano about his role with the Nationals.
Meanwhile, MLB told the District of Columbia Council it would not accept a Nationals ballpark adjacent to RFK Stadium as an alternative to a site south of the Capitol.
GRIFFEY IN CLASSIC: Reds outfielder Ken Griffey has agreed to play in next year's inaugural World Baseball Classic if he is picked for the U.S. team.
ASTROS: Catcher Brad Ausmus agreed to a $7.5-million, two-year contract that will keep him with the NL champions.
ROYALS: Kansas City is trying to sign Doug Mientkiewicz, the Gold Glove first baseman known for taking the ball from the final out of Boston's 2004 World Series win.