Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has commented on the situation, saying that coachability issues played "absolutely" no part in Bradley's demotion to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Update 2:04 pm: Jackie Bradley Jr. has spoken up about the issue, and understandably does not take kindly to his work ethic being questioned.
Say what you want about me as a ball player but trying to tarnish my character or my work ethic isn't going to fly..truth will reveal itself— Jackie Bradley Jr. (@JackieBradleyJr) September 3, 2014
There are two ways to think about this. Bradley doesn't feel he's being stubborn about changing his swing, and the Red Sox do, hence the demotion -- Farrell's comments on Tuesday support this, and it would just be in line with the split opinions we reported on earlier Wednesday. There's also the thought that all of this has less to do with his demotion than his overall disappointing performance, though, and Bradley is just trying to reorient everyone towards that since it's the real issue.
Regardless of which it is, the Red Sox need Jackie Bradley Jr. to do better, and he's in Pawtucket working on just that goal at present. He could very well still be part of the expanded September rosters eventually, once he starts to show the Red Sox what it is they expect from him. Whatever that might be. -Marc Normandin
When the Red Sox demoted Jackie Bradley Jr. to Triple-A Pawtucket a couple of weeks back, the move came as a minor surprise. The demotion, however, was not undeserved. Bradley has struggled mightily at the plate in 2014, hitting .216/.288/.290 with one home run while looking overwhelmed by major league pitching in the process.
Bradley's offensive struggles factored in greatly when the team decided to send him to the minors to rework his swing. That, however, may not have been the only reason for the demotion.
According to two league sources, there was a growing sense of frustration within the Red Sox clubhouse -- both coaches and players -- with Bradley due to his perceived "stubbornness with the coaching staff." One source added that Bradley was unwilling to work with coaches to fix his swing. Both sources said Bradley's attitude was one of the main reasons he was sent to the minors.
Manager John Farrell did not give Bradley the greatest of reviews prior to Tuesday's game against the Yankees when asked about the outfielder's progress in the minor leagues.
"Jackie was well aware when we sat down and described what needs to be the focal point. I don't know that has necessarily needs to be repeated right now. The reports have been mixed," Farrell told reporters in New York. "There have been days as he's executed between the lines as he's been working on but it's still a work in progress."
Teammates and coaches always raved about Bradley, a 2011 first-round pick out of the University of South Carolina, coming up through the minor league system. Bradley has been struggling since arriving in Pawtucket, hitting .212/.246/.273 with three walks and 18 strikeouts, and was not immediately recalled when rosters expanded on September 1. Red Sox prospect and rookie Mookie Betts has been playing center in Bradley's place, and owns a .284/.358/.474 line in 28 major-league games this season.