Bradley's return cut short by virus
Rangers slugger started Sunday but left in fourth inning
BALTIMORE -- Rangers manager Ron Washington wanted to wait until Tuesday to get Milton Bradley back in the lineup, but circumstances dictated otherwise.The Rangers need offense, so there was Bradley back in the cleanup spot for Sunday's game with the Orioles, after making just one pinch-hit appearance since straining his left quad on July 29. But his return did not last long. Bradley left Sunday's game after two plate appearances with a stomach virus, an ailment that also affected Hank Blalock while in Baltimore. Bradley, the designated hitter, struck out and walked before being replaced by Brandon Boggs. Boggs was scratched from the original lineup because of a strained right shoulder. He's having trouble throwing, but he is able to hit.
Entering Sunday's game, the Rangers scored just two runs in their past 34 innings. That streak started after David Murphy left Wednesday's game against the Yankees with a strained ligament in his right knee after a home-plate collision with catcher Ivan Rodriguez."We're hoping to hang in there until Murphy gets back," Washington said. "We miss him so badly. We were able to go with one guy [Bradley] out, but to lose two..." The Rangers did get Michael Young back on Sunday. He left Saturday's game in the fourth inning with some stiffness in the ring finger on his right hand, but he regained range of motion by Sunday. Young is dealing with a small fracture in his finger, which he aggravated by hitting a ball off the end of the bat. "I don't consider last night to be a big deal," Young said. "It goes with the territory. I feel great at the plate. It's not an issue at all." The Rangers may also get Blalock, recovering from a strained shoulder and that stomach virus, back soon. He's been throwing from 120 feet under controlled conditions and taking batting practice. Washington said the Rangers will work him hard before Tuesday and Wednesday's games in Boston, then decide whether he needs a brief Minor League rehab assignment. "We want to see how his workouts go," Washington said. "He has to be able to play third base. We'll see how his shoulder reacts. I don't want to say anything prematurely." Blalock is hoping to be activated without a rehab assignment. "I'm feeling good," Blalock said. "I threw from 120 feet 20 times with no problems. ... I'm anxious to get back in there."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.