Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley tells ESPN.com he is receiving counseling and says the stress related to his recent on-field struggles led him to have thoughts of suicide.
"It’s always been like my validation, my worth as a human being is that I’ve been a good baseball player," he tells reporter Elizabeth Merrill. "That’s a bad way to look at it, but that’s just how I’ve looked at it. I just really had this hopeless feeling when I wasn’t playing baseball well. I know when I start thinking about not living anymore based on the fact that I’m not playing baseball well, that’s when I know I need to take a step back."
Merrill, in a telephone interview Saturday with "Baseball Tonight" host Steve Berthiaume, tried to downplay the hint of suicide, saying that Bradley is a "deep thinker" who also told her he would "never do something like that" to his family.
Bradley this week returned to the Mariners after a two-week leave of absence to deal with unspecified personal issues. He says he is seeing a counselor who has an athletic background and "dealt with anger himself."
Bradley adds that he wanted to seek help last season while playing for the Cubs, but "you can’t really do that in Chicago. There’s just too much going on."
The 32-year-old Bradley entered Saturday’s game batting .244/.333/.378 in 93 plate appearances. He is in the second year of a three-year, $30 million contract he signed with the Cubs before the 2009 season. Chicago traded him to Seattle for right-hander Carlos Silva last winter.