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Pirates Pirates' 1st selection in '99 needs surgery

Friday, May 30, 2003

By Robert Dvorchak, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Bobby Bradley, the Pirates' first-round selection in the 1999 draft whose career has been hampered by arm troubles, will have arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Tuesday. It is unclear how much playing time he will miss.

Bradley, 22, felt a sharp pain in his shoulder in a start last week with Class A Lynchburg, and the pain felt worse the next day. He was subsequently flown to Pittsburgh for diagnostic tests which revealed "some sort of impingement" in his shoulder, according to minor-league director Brian Graham.

The injury apparently does not involve the rotator cuff or the labrum. A clearer picture will emerge after surgery is performed by D. Patrick DeMeo, the team's medical director, at Allegheny General Hospital.

"Certainly, it's a setback. Let's hope it's not too serious," Graham said.

Bradley had reconstructive elbow surgery at the end of the 2001 season and had started just 29 games in three years before that. After missing all of last season for rehabilitation, Bradley made his first professional start since June 3, 2001, with Lynchburg this season.

In eight starts this year, Bradley was 3-1 with a 3.11 ERA and 25 strikeouts. But he had issued 24 walks, hit four batters and threw six wild pitches.

Before the shoulder injury, the Pirates had been encouraged by Bradley's progress. His fastball was back in the 91 mph range and his curveball had more bite to it. Because of the arm problems, he has spent five seasons in the minor-league system.

Robert Dvorchak can be reached at bdvorchak@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1959.

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