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Indians' Bradley out indefinitely with fracture near left eye

Posted: Thursday May 02, 2002 6:29 PM
Updated: Thursday May 02, 2002 7:35 PM

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Cleveland Indians center fielder Milton Bradley broke a bone near his left eye while trying to make a catch and may need surgery.

Bradley was injured during Wednesday's game against the Anaheim Angels when a ball ricocheted off the outfield wall and hit him just below his left eye.

Indians assistant general manager Neal Huntington said Bradley fractured his orbital bone and will be re-examined Saturday by Dr. James Conforto.

Huntington said Bradley will be out indefinitely and could need surgery.

"We don't know yet," Huntington said. "We don't have a time frame. After more tests we'll have a better idea. But any time you're talking about a player's eye, sure there is some concern."

Bradley was wearing red-tinted glasses before Thursday's game and declined to speak with reporters before leaving Jacobs Field.

The Indians said the 24-year-old player has double vision and tests showed that the iris in his eye was inflamed.

Cleveland placed Bradley on the 15-day disabled list and recalled utilityman Jolbert Cabrera from Class AAA Buffalo. Cabrera has been in the minors while recovering from a gunshot wound to his buttocks.

Cabrera was shot this winter in a failed carjacking in his hometown of Cartegena, Colombia.

While lining up to catch Brad Fullmer's drive in Wednesday night's loss to the Anaheim Angels, Bradley leaped against the padded wall in right-center and missed the ball, which bounced off and hit him near his left eye.

Bradley was hitting .266 in 23 games with the Indians, who acquired him in a trade last July 31 from the Montreal Expos.

"He's been a good player and was playing well for us," Huntington said.

Cabrera can play all three outfield positions and has been playing some first base with the Bisons. He was batting .323 in 31 at-bats in Buffalo.

Manager Charlie Manuel said Cabrera, who played in 141 games last season, is not yet 100 percent, but the Indians couldn't wait to bring him up.

"He fills a lot of spots and holes for us," Manuel said. "He's somebody we can really use."

Cabrera was riding in a car with his wife and two children when they were accosted by an armed robber in December. After getting his family to safety, Cabrera was shot in the buttocks as he fled.

He had surgery to remove the bullet and sustained some minor nerve damage.

Cabrera has been ansty to get back. He called Manuel twice recently and left messages saying he was ready to return.

"He asked me if I had forgotten about him," Manuel said. "I said, 'No.'"

Cabrera said the injury has actually made him a better player, and he's not restricted at all.

"I'm a lot stronger," he said. "I can do anything. It feels good and hopefully I can give this team something that it hasn't had."

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