Milton Bradley's Struggles Continue

His return to lineup left a lot to be desired

He's only been a member of the Chicago Cubs for nearly a month now -- sorry, spring training doesn't count -- but Cubs fans are still waiting for Milton Bradley to show up and have an impact on a game.  Well, he's had an impact, but injuring his groin and getting ejected and suspended aren't the impact the Cubs were hoping Bradley would have on the team's lineup.

Milton returned to the team on Wednesday night as the Cubs played their second game against the Cincinnati Reds in a three-game series, but he didn't do much.  Bradley went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts as the Cubs were stymied by Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto all night long in a 3-0 loss.  Those four at bats dropped Bradley's batting average to .043 as he's now 1-for-23 on the season.  His OPS -- which he led the Majors in last season, making him so desirable to the north siders -- now sits at .441, well below 2008's .999.

While it's way too early in the season to consider Bradley's signing a failure, you do have to wonder if he's ever going to start hitting and earning the three-year $30 million deal he signed with the team.  The Cubs knew that Bradley had an injury history, but they were willing to take that risk as long as Bradley's bat made a lot of noise when he was playing.

So far the only noise his bat has made is a "whoosh" noise as he swings and misses at pitches.

Sooner or later Cubs fans are going to let Bradley hear it when he steps to the plate at Wrigley, and given the fact that Bradley has had some run-ins with fans before, things could start getting really ugly, really fast.

Especially if he continues to do things like he did on Wednesday night.  While Bradley struck out three times, he did manage to put the ball in play once when he hit a soft ground ball to first base.  After getting about a third of the way down the first base line, Bradley put it in nuetral and began running at half-speed down the line.

Granted, it could just be that he didn't want to go 100% and risk re-injuring his groin, but that's not going to do much to quiet Cubs fans who used to get on Aramis Ramirez's case for the same thing.

It's one thing to be struggling when you're playing as hard as you can, but it's another thing entirely when you're struggling and you're only going half-speed and getting hurt all the time. 

Along with writing for NBCCHICAGO.com, Tom Fornelli can also be found contributing at FanHouse, SPORTSbyBROOKS, and his own Chicago sports blog Foul Balls

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