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Magazine apologizes to Aardsma
In fact, the Mariners closer is one of the most soft-spoken, polite baseball players you’ll find, content with getting his daily work in, blending into the dynamic of a peaceful clubhouse, and being ready to compete when the bullpen doors swing open.
That’s why Aardsma was surprised — and not pleasantly so — when comments he made to a national sports magazine were misrepresented, leading to an apology from the publication.
Aardsma, reached over the weekend by The Sporting News, was interviewed for a story on Felix Hernandez, but the reporter asked a few questions about new acquisition Milton Bradley toward the end of the conversation.
The quote attributed to Aardsma about Bradley, who has had issues in the past with teammates, managers, media and fans, seemed innocent enough.
The magazine wrote that Aardsma said, “As long as he plays the right way, comes to Spring Training ready to work and ready to be part of the team that we have — good guys [who] put their nose to the ground and bust their butts — we’ll take anybody.”
“That part was entirely accurate,” Aardsma told MLB.com via cell phone Tuesday afternoon. “I would say the same thing about anybody.”
But the headline attached to the story read, “Mariners’ closer has message for Milton Bradley: Welcome. Don’t mess up the chemistry,” and the second quote attributed to Aardsma read, “It’s good to have a power left-handed bat [in] Safeco. His ability never has been the question. It’s the locker room-type stuff. As long as we figure that out, awesome.”
Aardsma said the second quote was put together with pieces of statements that were taken out of context and that the headline, which was picked up almost verbatim by various major-city newspapers around the country, turned his harmless, cordial words into inflammatory fodder.
For that, he said, the magazine called him and apologized.
“I’m one of the last people ever to dog anybody,” Aardsma said Tuesday. “And I don’t know anything about Milton’s past. Nothing was truly public other than he didn’t get along with some people, and I don’t know what happened. And I don’t care what happened in his past, either.
“The only thing I care about is us winning as a team and being together as a team. When I found out we got him, I called Milton and welcomed him.”
Aardsma says he has long admired what Bradley can do with the bat and that he should fit in well with what the Mariners are trying to accomplish in 2010.
“I am excited for him,” Aardsma said. “He’s going to be a huge part of this team and probably going to be a huge part of our success.
He will be right in the middle of our lineup, and he’s going to help my career, too. He’ll help the team score a bunch more runs, and that makes my job easier in the bullpen.
“I’ll do anything I can to help him. I’m pumped up to have him.”