OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -Milton Bradley couldn't have envisioned such a dire situation in Oakland's outfield.
``Billy Beane is getting gray hairs if he doesn't already have some,'' Bradley said in reference to the Athletics' general manager, who must be emotionally taxed after pulling off two trades in three days to boost his beat-up roster.
Bradley is out and on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, and fellow starters Mark Kotsay and Nick Swisher also are sidelined. And some of the players who are technically available for the defending AL West champion A's are hurt, too.
``We're struggling,'' Bradley said. ``If you had told me that Kotsay, Swisher and I all would be out and that Danny Putnam would be playing center field in April, I would have said you're crazy. We've just got to stay afloat right now.''
To stay afloat, Beane made a trade with the Atlanta Braves on Sunday for outfielder Ryan Langerhans, who is slated to be in uniform and in the starting lineup Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game series at Boston. Swisher could return this week from a strained left hamstring.
``We'll see. It's killing me (to be out),'' he said. ``I'm excited. I love going to Boston.''
Kotsay was in the Bay Area from San Diego for the weekend doing limited on-field work as part of his rehabilitation from March 8 back surgery. He is on the 60-day DL with hopes of playing again by June 1.
``I won't be encouraged until I put a uniform on and play,'' said Kotsay, who has been taking some swings, running and playing catch. ``I don't want to be in anybody's way. You can't play, you can't help in any way.''
Ace right-hander Rich Harden, on the DL with a strained throwing shoulder, was held back from throwing all weekend and likely will be out at least another week - perhaps available to return sometime during a series at Kansas City from May 8-10. Starter Esteban Loaiza is still about a month away after recently beginning a throwing program in his recovery from a bulging disk in his neck.
Bobby Kielty briefly returned to the lineup Saturday to play left field after sitting out with a strained left calf, but was replaced in the top of the third by Putnam. Swisher hurt his hamstring last Tuesday in Baltimore.
The A's are thankful that Shannon Stewart has fought off the injury bug after he was limited to only 44 games last season for the Minnesota Twins because of a left foot injury. He was on the DL twice. Now, Stewart is the only outfielder who was expected to be on the team out of spring training currently playing.
``We've been fortunate that we've had some days off early and Shannon has been able to be in there every day,'' manager Bob Geren said.
The A's signed Stewart to a $1 million, one-year contract only about a week before the start of spring training in February. Acquiring a utility outfielder to replace the departed Jay Payton was among the last orders of business for Beane, the club's creative GM.
Beane's top assistant, David Forst, has admittedly been sleep deprived from dealing with all the roster adjustments. On Friday, Oakland acquired Chris Denorfia - recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and not expected to play until 2008 - in a swap with Cincinnati on and then sent right-hander Marcus McBeth to the Reds on Saturday as one of two players to be named in the deal.
Geren said that Bradley might need a minor league rehab assignment before he is eligible to come off the DL on May 8, though Bradley insists he won't need one. He is eager to play again after missing 59 games last season during two stints on the disabled list - first from April 27 to June 5 with a sprained right knee and strained muscle in his right side, then again June 15 to July 13 with a strained left shoulder.
Bradley was Oakland's only consistent offensive player during a four-game sweep by the Detroit Tigers in the AL championship series last October.
``I feel good,'' Bradley said. ``There's basically no soreness. I haven't broken out into a sprint. I'm still strengthening. I didn't want to have another DL, but I put pressure on myself to get back in there. Hopefully by September, nobody will care.''

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