SEATTLE -- The Milton Bradley watch remains a day-to-day proposition. Bradley was out of the lineup Wednesday with a strained back, an injury that occurred on his first and only swing in Tuesday's game against the Mariners. The report was that Bradley had stiffness but no pain, and the Rangers are hoping that he'll be able to get back on the field when they open a four-game series with the Athletics in Oakland on Thursday.
Bradley went into Wednesday's game tied for the league lead in hitting with Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Both are hitting .327, but Bradley still needs 32 plate appearances before the season ends to qualify for the batting title. A player must have 502 plate appearances, and Bradley has 470. Bradley also leads the league with a .446 on-base percentage and is second with a .583 slugging percentage. But he has also been out of the lineup for 39 games because of various injuries that include his knees, hamstring, shoulder, quadriceps muscle, wrist and now a strained back. General manager Jon Daniels admitted that physical issues are "part of the equation" when the Rangers weigh the possibility of re-signing Bradley as a free agent this offseason. "If you look back at the year, overall it's been a big success," Daniels said. "He's been a big force in the lineup. Coming off the knee injury last year, we knew he would miss time, but we thought it would because of the knee. Instead it's been other minor deals. "It's just something that we've got to factor in when we talk internally and to Milton after the season. We haven't made any final decision. We'll talk a little more as we approach the end of the season. We certainly value what he's brought to the club. You can see the difference when he's not in the lineup." With Bradley out, manager Ron Washington used Gerald Laird at designated hitter and in the leadoff spot on Wednesday. Joaquin Arias has been batting leadoff while Ian Kinsler has been out, but Washington decided to use German Duran at second base on Wednesday. It's the first time in his career that Laird has batted leadoff. "It's kind of fun and exciting," Laird said. "I'll just do my thing and have the same approach as always." Bradley isn't the only offensive player sidelined. Frank Catalanotto remains sidelined with a strained left groin.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.