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09/27/08 9:05 PM ET
Bradley breaks from chasing titles
Slugger sits Saturday with on-base percentage still leading AL
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Milton Bradley, who is hitting .324 and trailed Minnesota's Joe Mauer by six points in the American League batting race entering Saturday night, was given the night off by manager Ron Washington. Washington wanted to get Frank Catalanotto one last start at designated hitter before the end of the season. Mauer went into Saturday hitting .331 before going 0-for-2 against the Royals in the afternoon and allowing his average to slip one point. Washington said that's still too big of a gap for Bradley to make up in the final two days of the season. "Playing in the [Metrodome] and them fighting for a [playoff] spot, I don't think Mauer's going to lose it," Washington said. "It's been so long since I played Cat ... I just wanted to get him in there." Bradley had a chance this month to be the first player to lead the AL in average, on-base and slugging percentage since George Brett in 1980. It appears as if he'll have to settle for just the on-base title. Bradley entered Saturday fourth in the AL in slugging percentage. He was at .567, while Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees and Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox were tied for the lead at .573. Carlos Quentin was third with a .571 slugging percentage. Bradley had a comfortable lead -- .439 to .415 -- over Mauer in on-base percentage. That percentage would set a new Rangers record, eclipsing the mark of .432 set by Toby Harrah in 1985. It would also be just the ninth time that a Rangers player has finished with an on-base percentage higher than .400. Bradley does figure to lead the Rangers in hitting, the first player other than Michael Young to do so since Rodriguez in 2003.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.