Bradford out 3-4 months after elbow surgery
UPDATE, 5:40: Executive VP Andrew Friedman said the Rays expect Bradford to miss "the first month or two of the season.'' He said Bradford's problems started during the playoffs but an MRI done then was clean and they figured he would be fine with rest, but that when he started throwing in late January he had discomfort in this third session and then swelling, leading to the surgery.
"To focus on the positive, it's going to be a great shot in the arm when he's back, to be able to add that type of reliever to the mix,'' Friedman said.
Friedman also had encouraging news about closer Troy Percival, who he said has already started throwing off the mound as he recovers from off-season back surgery.
He also said the signing of LHP Brian Shouse should be official on Tuesday, that they are eager to bring Morgan Ensberg to camp on a minor-league contract and they expect to get a decision Tuesday on the arbitration hearing with C Dioner Navarro that was held Monday in Phoenix.
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RHP Chad Bradford underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow last week and will be out 3-4 months.
Bradford was going throuhg his throwing program and felt some discomfort, and exams showed loose bodies, which he had removed on Feb. 5 by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham.
With Bradford out until May or June, the bullpen depth the Rays accrued during the off-season becomes even more important. They signed free agent right-handers Lance Cormier and Joe Nelson, and are expected to finally finalize their deal for lefthander Brian Shouse today or Tuesday. Closer Troy Percival is recovering from back surgery and the Rays don't know when he will be ready.
The Rays have also confirmed the signing of infielder Morgan Ensberg to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. Ensberg, 33, was an NL All-Star in 2005 when he hit 36 homers and has dropped off considerably since, hitting .203 in 28 games for the Yankees last season and .189 in 52 games for Cleveland's Triple-A team.
Ensberg, who would earn $650,000 if he makes the Rays roster, told espn.com he would have an opportunity to backup at first and third base and is willing to fill in at second base and left field (which sounds an awful lot like Willy Aybar's role, except for the leftfield part), and would open the season at Triple-A Durham if necessary.
"I haven't had a lot of success lately, so I'm really excited about this," Ensberg said. "There's no pride issue here. I have to go in and play well. This isn't rocket science."
Also, the Rays confirmed they rehired John McLaren as a special assignment scout.