LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers unloaded Milton Bradley on Tuesday, sending the switch-hitting outfielder to the Oakland Athletics along with infielder Antonio Perez for minor league outfielder Andre Ethier, the Texas League player of the year.

Bradley, acquired by the Dodgers shortly before the start of the 2004 season after a run-in with Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge, feuded with teammate Jeff Kent last season.

Bradley didn’t play after accusing Kent of a lack of leadership and an inability to deal with African-American players on Aug. 23. The following day, Bradley learned he had sustained serious injuries to his left knee that required surgery.

It was made public later in August that police responded three times to Bradley’s home in nearby Redondon Beach on domestic violence calls, but he wasn’t arrested or charged.

Bradley has had several issues with his temper. He was suspended for the final five games of the 2004 season when he slammed a plastic bottle at the feet of a fan in the box seats in the right field corner at Dodger Stadium after someone threw it on the field. Nobody was injured.

He had anger management counseling during the offseason, and kept his temper in control last season – even when discussing Kent, although his comments were scathing.

Griffey will play in Classic

CINCINNATI – Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. has agreed to play in next year’s inaugural World Baseball Classic if he is picked for the U.S. team.

His father, Ken Griffey Sr., will be the first-base coach for the U.S. team during the 16-team tournament, to be played from March 3-20. The elder Griffey is a special consultant to Reds general manager Dan O’Brien.

Griffey Jr.’s decision was announced Tuesday by the Reds. Cincinnati outfielder Adam Dunn (U.S.), shortstop Felipe Lopez (Puerto Rico), outfielder Wily Mo Pena (Dominican Republic) and catcher Javier Valentin (Puerto Rico) previously committed to play.

Soriano deal official

WASHINGTON – Utilityman Robert Fick and reliever Joey Eischen signed one-year deals Tuesday with the Washington Nationals. The team also formally announced the trade for Alfonso Soriano and added four catchers to compete for a reserve role.

Fick hit .265 with three homers and 30 RBIs in 93 games with San Diego last season. He has played first base, catcher and in the outfield, and joins earlier free-agent additions Damian Jackson and Marlon Anderson to give Washington a versatile bench.

Eischen, the only left-hander on Washington’s pitching staff for stretches of 2005, was 2-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 57 relief appearances. He stranded 40 of 48 inherited runners, an 83.3 percentage that ranked fifth in the NL.

Washington signed catchers Wiki Gonzalez, Mike DiFelice, Alberto Castillo and Brandon Harper to minor league contracts. All spent time at Triple-A last season.

Gary Bennett, the backup to starting catcher Brian Schneider last season, left as a free agent and signed with St. Louis.

Ausmus signs with Astros

HOUSTON – Astros catcher Brad Ausmus agreed Tuesday to a $7.5 million, two-year contract that will keep him with the NL champions.

The 36-year-old batted .258 with three homers and 47 RBIs in 134 games for Houston during the regular season and hit a tying two-out, ninth-inning homer in Game 4 of the first-round series against Atlanta, a game the Astros won in a postseason-record 18 innings to move on to the NL championship series.

He became a free agent after the Astros were swept by the Chicago White Sox in the World Series.

and was offered salary arbitration by Houston last week, extending the Astros’ negotiating period through Jan. 8.


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