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BASEBALL NOTEBOOK

Dodgers ship Bradley to the A's

The Los Angeles Dodgers unloaded Milton Bradley yesterday, sending the switch-hitting outfielder to Oakland 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 2004 season after he had a run-in with Cleveland 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 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 Redondo Beach on domestic violence calls, but he wasn't arrested or charged.

Bradley, 27, hit .290 with 13 homers and 38 RBIs in 283 at-bats last season. He was limited to 75 games, missing extensive playing time because of an injured wrist.

A Nomar rumor

Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez in the same infield?

According to yesterday's New York Post, the Yankees are considering signing the 32-year-old Garciaparra to play first base.

That would bring together players who only a few years ago were universally considered the top three shortstops in the American League, Garciaparra for the Red Sox, Jeter for the Yankees, and Rodriguez for the Mariners and Rangers. These days, of course, Rodriguez plays third, having deferred to Jeter when he came to the Bronx, and if Garciaparra were to join the Yankees, he would be learning a new position.

New York general manager Brian Cashman and agent Arn Tellem would not confirm that an offer had been made, but several industry sources told the Post that one was.

The past two seasons have been tough ones for Garciaparra. In July 2004, the Red Sox traded the face of their franchise to the Cubs, and then went on to win the World Series.

Last season, a major groin injury limited Garciaparra to 62 games at short and third for Chicago. He batted .283 with nine homers and 30 RBIs.

If the Yankees sign Garciaparra, Jason Giambi may become a full-time designated hitter.

Ausmus, Astros agree

Astros catcher Brad Ausmus, 36, agreed to a $7.5 million, two-year contract that will keep him with the NL champions. Ausmus batted .258 with three homers and 47 RBIs in 134 games for Houston last season . . . Veteran reliever Jason Grimsley, 38, agreed to a one-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks worth about $825,000 . . . Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey has agreed to play in the inaugural World Baseball Classic if he is picked for the US team. His father, Ken Griffey Sr., will be the first-base coach for the US during the 16-team tourney, to be played March 3-20. Rodriguez said he is leaning toward playing for the Dominican Republic; he was born in New York but his parents are Dominican.

KC after Mientkiewicz

The Kansas City Royals are attempting to sign former Red Sox first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz. ''We definitely have an interest and we are pursuing it," GM Allard Baird said . . . The Washington Nationals signed utilityman Robert Fick and reliever Joey Eischen to one-year deals, and formally announced the acquisition of Alfonso Soriano from Texas for outfielders Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge and a minor leaguer . . . The Baltimore Orioles and catcher Ramon Hernandez finalized a $27.5 million, four-year contract . . . Former Orioles pitcher Sidney Ponson turned himself in to the Baltimore District Court to begin serving his five-day jail sentence for driving while impaired . . . The Atlanta Braves said Time Warner is exploring selling the team and the Turner South cable network, which carries many of its games.

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