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Mariner Rookie Bradley Is Catching On

May 03, 1987|United Press International

OAKLAND — Batting .400 may not be enough to earn Scott Bradley a regular spot in the Seattle Mariners lineup.

Bradley, a catcher, boasted a .417 average through 19 games, the highest in the major leagues. It remains questionable just how well this performance has impressed Mariners manager Dick Williams.

Bradley got his chance when Dave Valle went out with a hip pointer, and Valle was due to come off the disabled list May 2. That may send Bradley and his .400 average back to the bench.

"Hopefully, I've opened up their eyes a little," said Bradley, "and they'll find some ways to get me in the lineup."

There is a powerful difference between Valle and Bradley. Bradley had one home run in those 19 games after hitting just five in 1986. Valle, who already had three homers when he was hurt, belted 21 for Calgary (PCL) last year and five more in 22 games with the parent Mariners.

Those numbers are not lost on Bradley.

"He (Valle) has the potential to hit some home runs," Bradley said. "I think one of the reasons they made the trade with (Danny) Tartabull was because Dave could make up some of that power.

"I can't. If I start looking to hit home runs, I'm in trouble. I go up trying to make contact and look to hit the ball where it's pitched. That's what I have to do to have any success at all. If I try and change that, it's just going to foul me up."

It's not as if the Mariners want him to change.

"He's got a good stroke, and he's doing it day in and day out," said Williams. "He's always making contact. He doesn't strike out much."

Indeed, Bradley had struck out only once during his excellent streak. Last season, he fanned only seven times in 199 at-bats.

"I think one of the reasons I don't strike out is one of the same reasons I don't walk very much," said Bradley, who had just three walks in 19 games. "I don't ul that many pitches off. I'm not hitting with two strikes a lot."

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