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Nationals in serious pursuit of Bradley

Nationals in serious pursuit of Bradley

WASHINGTON -- Although they lost to the Yankees in the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes, the Nationals continue to look for offensive help. According to a baseball source, Washington has serious interest in free-agent outfielder Milton Bradley.

The switch-hitting Bradley, 30, played for the Rangers this past season and hit .321 with 22 home runs and 77 RBIs. He also led the American League with a .436 on-base percentage.

Bradley's presence could offset the overload of right-hand hitters in the Nationals lineup. He also would play center field. This past season, Lastings Milledge played the position, but the team believes he is better suited in left or right field. Milledge had trouble going back on fly balls and has a weak arm.

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The Nationals are not the only team trying to acquire Bradley's services. The Cubs also have him on their radar. To make room on the payroll for Bradley, according to published reports, the Cubs have to shed some salary and may have taken the first step in that regard by dealing Mark DeRosa to the Indians for three prospects.

Drafted by the Expos in the 1996 First-Year Player Draft, Bradley has played nine seasons in the big leagues and is looking to play for his seventh team. Besides the Expos and Rangers, Bradley has played for the Indians, Dodgers, Athletics and Padres. He has a .280 career batting average with 103 home runs and 399 RBIs.

In other news, the Nationals continue to have their eyes on free agents Adam Dunn and second baseman Orlando Hudson.

The team is looking for a first baseman to replace Nick Johnson, and Dunn is their top target. Besides hitting home runs and getting on base, Dunn has stayed healthy during his career. Johnson, on the other hand, has been on the disabled list almost every year of his career and missed a lot of time.

The Nationals look at Hudson as a clubhouse leader and a person who could solve their problems at second base and the lead-off position. Manager Manny Acta announced during the Winter Meetings that Anderson Hernandez would not be the Nationals' leadoff hitter in 2009.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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