Outfielder Milton Bradley and the Texas Rangers reached a preliminary agreement yesterday on a 1-year, $5 million contract.

Bradley, who also had considered re-signing with the San Diego Padres, could play outfield or be a designated hitter with the Rangers. His deal also contains performance bonuses.

Bradley was the second-half offensive catalyst for the Padres, who fell one win short of their third straight trip to the playoffs. But he tore the anterior cruciate ligament and damaged cartilage in his right knee when Padres manager Bud Black spun him to the ground while trying to keep him from going after umpire Mike Winters during a confrontation on Sept. 23 against Colorado.

San Diego and Bradley, who has a history of losing his temper, claimed Winters baited the player into the confrontation and directed a profanity at him. Winters was suspended for the final 5 days of the regular season and didn't work the postseason.

Bradley's injury was the climax of a bizarre sequence of events.

A few innings before he was injured, Bradley inadvertently stepped on Mike Cameron's right hand as the two chased Garrett Atkins' inside-the-park home run. Cameron injured his thumb and made just one appearance the rest of the season.

Bradley finished the year hitting .306 with 13 homers and 37 RBI in 61 games with Oakland and San Diego.


* Vladimir Guerrero said he has almost fully recovered from an irritated right triceps that prevented him from playing rightfield for the Los Angeles Angels at the end of the season.

"I am doing some exercises and the doctors have told me that I will not have problems," the 2004 AL MVP said. "It will not be necessary to operate, either."

While he didn't spend time on the disabled list, Guerrero was limited to the role of designated hitter from Sept. 4 through Game 1 of the Angels' first-round playoff loss to Boston.

Adding to his discomfort, Guerrero was hit by pitches in the right elbow and left forearm in the season's final week. The slugger managed just two singles in 10 at-bats against Boston as the Angles were swept out of the playoffs.

* The New York Yankees are close to signing reliever LaTroy Hawkins to a 1-year, $3.75 million contract, sources told ESPN The Magazine. *