FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -Milton Bradley insists his injured right knee will heal in time for him to start the season with the Texas Rangers.
``I'll be ready to play in some capacity,'' he said Tuesday.
While the Rangers expect him to play right field, Bradley could start the season as their designated hitter. Texas signed the free agent to a one-year, $8 million deal last week.
Bradley was hurt Sept. 23 when he was spun to the ground by San Diego manager Bud Black. Bradley was trying to get at umpire Mike Winters, and instead wound up tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and damaging cartilage.
Bradley didn't say whether he's running yet.
``I'm ahead of pace of the average person,'' the 29-year-old Bradley said. ``I'm where I need to be. I'll be ready for the start of the season.''
Bradley hit .306 with 13 homers and 37 RBIs in 61 games with Oakland and San Diego. But he also had four stints on the disabled list (hamstring, oblique and calf muscle), and that didn't include the knee injury.
Since playing a career-high 141 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004, Bradley hasn't played more than 96 games in a season. He has been on the DL 12 times in his eight major league seasons, during which he has hit .273 with 81 homers and 322 RBIs in 691 games for Montreal, Cleveland, the Dodgers, Oakland and San Diego.
``With a full year, I think I can have great numbers,'' Bradley said.
Project his 2007 totals over a full 162-game schedule, and it comes out to 37 homers and 98 RBIs. Over the past three seasons, his full-season projections average 28 homers and 89 RBIs.
Bradley expects to still be doing rehabilitation when he reports to spring training in Arizona in mid-February.
``I will continue on pace to do what the doctors feel I'm ready for at that point,'' he said. ``I will take it at whatever pace is necessary.''
Rangers manager Ron Washington was an assistant coach in Oakland when Bradley was there in 2006. Washington said Bradley could also play center field and will take turns at DH even when he's healthy.
``He brings attitude. He brings commitment,'' Washington said. ``He's not a rah-rah type of guy, but the way he plays the game will bring everybody else's level up.''
Bradley said Washington being the manager was ``a major factor'' in him signing with Texas.
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