Milton Bradley arrived in Seattle this past winter distrusting the world, and not without good reason. After all, the mercurial slugger was joining his eighth team in 10 years.
And, true to form, he began having problems in Seattle early this season. But after two weeks away for emotional counseling set up by the Mariners, things appear to be turning around for Bradley.
"My mind is clear," Bradley said. "It's been a while."
The team, he added, has been more supportive, accommodating and patient than any of his seven other clubs. Just as important for the Mariners, his bat is getting well too - which might has yielded some unexpected consequences.
Tuesday, he hit the go-ahead single in the eighth inning against Detroit. Then he ran from first base into the dugout during a pitching change. His surprised teammates gave him high-fives and back slaps. Bradley then ran back to first base to complete the first in-game dugout celebration from a guy still on the base paths that the Mariners had ever seen.
"The way I was feeling, I needed to share with my teammates," Bradley said. "It was a good feeling. I came through."
Jose Valverde points, pulsates and shouts when he pitches, something the Detroit closer says he has been doing since his boyhood days in the Dominican Republic - and he has no plans to change.
The Tigers, for good reason, do not have a problem with that. After all, he has blown only one of 12 save chances this year, and hasn't allowed a run in his last 19 appearances.
When the reliever is doing well, everyone knows it. He points to the sky and then from his left to right shoulder, to thank God, he says, after each save. Following some outs, he contorts his body and screams things to no one in particular in an act that he insists is genuine each time.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland has a sensible approach to Valverde's antics: He's not crazy about how he carries himself on the field, but what matters are the results.
Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz, who has been back only two weeks after being on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right hamstring, may be headed to DL again with another hamstring injury. An MRI on Thursday determined that the all-star outfielder has a strained left hamstring, apparently sustained this week at Kansas City.