Monday, October 7, 2013

In 12th Major League season, Byrd finally flies

Marlon Byrd's 12-year Major League career hasn't exactly been the stuff of storybooks. Until now. Byrd made the Pittsburgh Pirates better when they picked him up from the New York Mets in late August. More to the point, the Pirates have given Byrd a chance to win, finally.


This isn't Marlon Byrd right now, but it is a more typical rendering of Byrd's career, as he is wearing the uniform of a poor team (slgckgc/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).


By BILL PETERSON
Big Leagues in Los Angeles

In 12 Major League seasons, Marlon Byrd has played for a lot of teams that became good after he left, but not until August has he ever been on a team that was good with him on it.

The Pittsburgh Pirates picked up Byrd and John Buck on Aug. 27, shipping two minor leaguers to the New York Mets. It has proved to be the most astute player move made by any team during the season. Correlatively, the Cincinnati Reds made the worst in-season front office blunder, failing to make a waiver claim on Byrd when they could have done so and freeing the Mets to make a deal with the Pirates.

Byrd produced three homers and 17 RBI with an .843 OPS during the last month of the season in Pittsburgh, adding a little pop to a Pirates team that really needed it. Byrd also homered and drove in two runs as the Pirates beat Cincinnati, 6-2, in the wildcard game, underscoring how badly the Reds botched his availability.

In the first three games of Pittsburgh's National League Division Series with the St. Louis Cardinals, Byrd has three RBI, including a two-run single in the first inning Sunday, when the Pirates captured Game 3, 5-3, in front of PNC's raucous crowd in the Steel City.

Byrd is not unusual among his new teammates in that he was down and out, a guy no one wanted. He's 35, and he was part of the Boston Red Sox disaster last year, serving a 50-game suspension for performance enhancing drug (PED) use. He signed a minor-league deal with the New York Mets this spring, earning $700,000 at the major league level. He is a huge part of the Pirates magic right now, along with outcasts like Francisco Liriano, Russell Martin and A.J. Burnett.

Byrd came up with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2002 and finished fourth in the 2003 Rookie of the Year vote after producing a .784 OPS. In 2005, the Phillies moved him to the Washington Nationals for Endy Chavez. Byrd signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent in 2006 and lasted there through 2009. The Phillies became winners fairly soon after Byrd left, the Nationals became competitive fairly soon after he left, and the Rangers became winners immediately after he left.

The 2013 season has been his best. Byrd batted .291 with 24 homers, 88 RBI and an .847 OPS. His .511 slugging percentage was fifth in the National League.

Back in 1999, while he was in college, Byrd picked up such a serious infection in his right leg that doctors wanted to amputate it, but he picked rehabilitation, instead, and fought his way to the major leagues. In 2011, he was hit by five pitches in 10 days, including a blow near his left eye that weakened his facial bones and required him to wear a protective mask.

After the 2011 season, Byrd began practicing Muay Thai and lost 40 pounds. In April 2012, the Chicago Cubs traded him to Boston. Less than two months later, he tested positive for Tamoxifen, which is legitimately used to treat breast cancer because it prevents the growth of breast tissue. For steroid users, it stops the body from crashing after cycles.

Here is the statement Byrd issued after he was suspended for 50 games: "I made an inexcusable mistake. Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball. Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test. Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance-enhancement reasons. I am mortified by my carelessness and I apologize to everyone who loves this game as I do. I will serve my suspension, continue to work hard and hope that I am given an opportunity to help a club win later this season."

That's his story. The man has been through a bit. Finally, he's getting something for it. Finally, he is getting a chance to win, and he is all over it.

Labels

Los Angeles Dodgers (118) Los Angeles Angels (90) St. Louis Cardinals (60) New York Yankees (50) Texas Rangers (48) San Francisco Giants (37) Cincinnati Reds (35) Matt Kemp (34) Minnesota Twins (33) Oakland Athletics (33) First Division (32) Houston Astros (32) Chicago White Sox (31) Kansas City Royals (31) Cleveland Indians (30) Henry Aaron (30) New York Mets (30) Atlanta Braves (29) Clayton Kershaw (29) Detroit Tigers (29) Boston Red Sox (28) Albert Pujols (27) Baltimore Orioles (27) Chicago Cubs (27) Don Mattingly (27) Center League (25) Andre Ethier (24) Dick Allen (24) Harmon Killebrew (24) Tampa Bay Rays (24) Second Division (23) West League (23) Milwaukee Brewers (22) Third Division (22) East League (21) Pittsburgh Pirates (21) Washington Nationals (21) Mike Scioscia (20) Mike Trout (20) San Diego Padres (20) Arizona Diamondbacks (18) Fourth Division (18) Seattle Mariners (18) Hanley Ramirez (15) Adrian Gonzalez (14) American League (14) C.J. WIlson (14) Dee Gordon (14) Miami Marlins (14) Toronto Blue Jays (14) Jered Weaver (13) Josh Hamilton (13) Philadelphia Phillies (13) National League (12) Yasiel Puig (12) Zack Greinke (12) Colorado Rockies (11) Howie Kendrick (10) Mark Trumbo (10) A.J. Ellis (9) Bryce Harper (9) Bud Selig East (9) Carl Crawford (9) Chub Feeney League (9) Dan Haren (9) Dodger Stadium (9) James Loney (9) Joe Cronin League (9) Jon Lester (9) Kenley Jansen (9) Billy Beane (8) Bud Selig West (8) Erick Aybar (8) Ernesto Frieri (8) Garrett Richards (8) Justin Verlander (8) Golden State Warriors (7) Yoenis Cespedes (7) Andrelton Simmons (6) Angel Stadium (6) Bobby Abreu (6) Bud Selig (6) Chris Sale (6) David Ortiz (6) Hyun-Jin Ryu (6) Juan Uribe (6) Miguel Cabrera (6) Prince Fielder (6) Torii Hunter (6) Anaheim Ducks (5) Chris Capuano (5) David Price (5) Ervin Santana (5) Harmon Killebrew Award (5) Jerry DiPoto (5) Jim Leyland (5) Joe Blanton (5) Joe Maddon (5) Los Angeles Clippers (5) Mark Ellis (5) Minnesota Lynx (5) San Antonio Spurs (5) Scott Van Slyke (5) Alex Rodriguez (4) Carlos Beltran (4) Chicago Blackhawks (4) Columbus Blue Jackets (4) Connecticut Huskies (4) Fredi Gonzalez (4) Henry Aaron Award (4) James Shields (4) Jason Vargas (4) Jose Altuve (4) Kendrys Morales (4) Mark Teixeira (4) Mat Latos (4) Matt Holliday (4) Ned Yost (4) Nelson Cruz (4) Nick Punto (4) North Carolina Tar Heels (4) 2014 World Series (3) A.J. Burnett (3) Adam Jones (3) Adam Kennedy (3) Alberto Callaspo (3) Alex Wood (3) All-Star Game (3) American League Championship Series (3) Andrew McCutchen (3) Billy Butler (3) Brandon Phillips (3) Chub Feeney (3) Cory Rasmus (3) David Dombrowski (3) David Freese (3) Dick Allen Award (3) Dustin Pedroia (3) Eric Hosmer (3) Florida Marlins (3) Francisco Liriano (3) Huston Street (3) J.B. Shuck (3) Jack Morris (3) Jacoby Ellsbury (3) Jerome Williams (3) Jerry Hairston (3) Joaquin Benoit (3) Joc Pederson (3) Joe Cronin (3) Joey Votto (3) LA Galaxy (3) Lance Lynn (3) Los Angeles Lakers (3) Los Angeles Sparks (3) Magic Johnson (3) Major League Baseball (3) Miami Heat (3) Minnesota Wild (3) National League Championship Series (3) National League Division Series (3) Pittsburgh Penguins (3) Robinson Cano (3) Ryan Braun (3) Scott Downs (3) Stan Kasten (3) Tim Lincecum (3) Vin Scully (3) Virginia Tech Hokies (3) Winnipeg Jets (3) Adam Dunn (2) Al Alburquerque (2) Alcides Escobar (2) Alex Gordon (2) Alex Rios (2) Alexander Cartwright (2) Allen Craig (2) American League Division Series (2) American League traveling championship (2) Anibal Sanchez (2) Arte Moreno (2) Austin Jackson (2) Barcelona (2) Barry Bonds (2) Bartolo Colon (2) Baseball Hall of Fame (2) Bayern Munich (2) Billy Hamilton (2) Borussia Mochengladbach (2) Boston Bruins (2) Brandon Crawford (2) Brandon League (2) Brian McCann (2) Bud Norris (2) Buster Posey (2) Carlos Gomez (2) Central League (2) Chad Billingsley (2) Chase Headley (2) Chase Utley (2) Chicago Bulls (2) Chris Davis (2) Chris Iannetta (2) Chris Johnson (2) Chris Paul (2) Chris Young (2) Clemson Tigers (2) Cleveland Cavaliers (2) Cliff Lee (2) Clint Hurdle (2) Cole Hamels (2) Corey Seager (2) Craig Kimbrel (2) Cy Young (2) Dallas Keuchel (2) Davey Johnson (2) Derek Jeter (2) Doug Fister (2) FC Dallas (2) Florida Panthers (2) Frank McCourt (2) George Springer (2) Gerrit Cole (2) Giancarlo Stanton (2) Gio Gonzalez (2) Greg Maddux (2) Hall of Fame (2) Hank Conger (2) Hisashi Iwakuma (2) Jacob deGrom (2) Jason Grilli (2) Jay Bruce (2) Jeff Bagwell (2) Jerry Sands (2) Jimmy Rollins (2) Joe Girardi (2) Joe Kelly (2) John Lackey (2) Jordan Zimmermann (2) Josh Beckett (2) Justin Upton (2) Juventus (2) Kelvin Herrera (2) Lee Smith (2) Logan Forsythe (2) Luis Mendoza (2) Lyle Overbay (2) Madison Bumgarner (2) Manny Machado (2) Marlon Byrd (2) Melky Cabrera (2) Michael Wacha (2) Mickey Hatcher (2) Mike Fiers (2) Mike Moustakas (2) Mississippi State Bulldogs (2) Montreal Canadiens (2) Montreal Impact (2) Nathan Eovaldi (2) National League West (2) National League traveling championship (2) Ned Colletti (2) New York Rangers (2) Nick Swisher (2) Oklahoma City Thunder (2) Oregon Ducks (2) Paul Goldschmidt (2) Pedro Alvarez (2) Pete Kozma (2) Real Madrid (2) Ricky Nolasco (2) Roger Clemens (2) Roy Williams (2) Russell Martin (2) Ryan Vogelsong (2) Ryan Zimmerman (2) Seattle Storm (2) Shane Victorino (2) South Carolina Gamecocks (2) St. Louis Blues (2) Stephen Strasburg (2) Steven Strasburg (2) Ted Turner (2) Terry Francona (2) Tony Cingrani (2) Tony LaRussa (2) Toronto FC (2) Toronto Maple Leafs (2) Torri Hunter (2) Tottenham Hotspur (2) UCLA Bruins (2) Victor Martinez (2) Villanova Wildcats (2) Washington Capitals (2) Werder Bremen (2) Wil Myers (2) World Series (2) Yu Darvish (2) interleague traveling baseball championship (2) women's pro basketball traveling championship (2) A'ja Wilson (1) AC Milan (1) AS Roma (1) Aaron Hamilton (1) Aaron Harang (1) Adam Dunn (1) Adam LaRoche (1) Adam Wainwright (1) Al Campanis (1) Alabama Crimson Tide (1) Alan Wiggins (1) Alejandro De Aza (1) Alex Avila (1) Alex Guerrero (1) Alexander Ovechkin (1) Alysha Clark (1) American League West (1) Andrew Heaney (1) Andrew McCtchen (1) Andrew Miller (1) Andy Pettitte (1) Annibal Sanchez (1) Anthony Rizzo (1) Aroldis Chapman (1) Astros (1) Atlanta Hawks (1) Atlanta United FC (1) Auston Matthews (1) Babe Ruth (1) Baltimore Orioles Kansas City Royals (1) Barry Larkin (1) Bayer Leerkusen (1) Ben Wade (1) Benji Molina (1) Bert Blyleven (1) Bert Campaneris (1) Bill Foley (1) Billy Buckner (1) Blake Griffin (1) Bo Porter (1) Bobby Cox (1) Bobby Thompson (1) Borussia Dortmund (1) Boston Celtics (1) Brad Ausmus (1) Brad Havens (1) Brad Lidge (1) Branch Rickey (1) Brandon Maurer (1) Brandon McCarthy (1) Brandon Morrow (1) Brandon Moss (1) Brandon Snyder (1) Breanna Stewart (1) Brendan Ryan (1) Brett Lawrie (1) Brett Wallace (1) Brian Cashman (1) Brian Harper (1) Bruce Bochy (1) Bryan Price (1) Buck Showalter (1) Buffalo Sabres (1) Bundesliga (1) Butler Bulldogs (1) Buzz Williams (1) C.J. Kron (1) CBS (1) Caleb Joseph (1) California Angels (1) Candace Parker (1) Carlos Correa (1) Carlos Frias (1) Carlos Gonzalez (1) Carlos Marmol (1) Celta Vigo (1) Chad Qualls (1) Charlie Coyle (1) Chelsea FC (1) Chiapas (1) Chicago Sky (1) Chris Archer (1) Chris Carpenter (1) Chris Perez (1) Chris Tillman (1) Christiano Ronaldo (1) Citi Field (1) Clay Bucchholz (1) Cleveand Indians (1) Club América (1) Colin Cowgill (1) Colorado Avalanche (1) Columbus Crew (1) Coors Field (1) Cornbelt Conference (1) Cotton Nash (1) Craig Biggio (1) Curt Schilling (1) Dabo Swinney (1) Dale Murphy (1) Dallas Wings (1) Dan Straily (1) Daniel Nava (1) Danny Duffy (1) Dansby Swanson (1) Darryl Sutter (1) Darwin Barney (1) Davey Lopes (1) David DeJesus (1) David Murphy (1) David Ousted (1) David Peralta (1) David Wright (1) Dawn Staley (1) DeMar Derozan (1) Dean Chance (1) Detroit Red Wings (1) Devan Dubnyk (1) Devon Travis (1) Dick Jacobs (1) Didi Gregorius (1) Dillon Gee (1) Dioner Navarro (1) Don Mincher (1) Don Sutton (1) Dr. James Naismith (1) Draymond Green (1) Drayton McLane (1) Drew Hutchison (1) Dries Mertens (1) Duke Blue Devils (1) Dustin Byfuglein (1) Dusty Baker (1) Earl Weaver (1) Ed Creech (1) Edinson Volquez (1) Edmonton Oilers (1) Edwin Jackson (1) Efren Navarro (1) Eintracht Frankfurt (1) Elena Della Donne (1) Elian Herrera (1) Empoli (1) Ender Inciarte (1) Endy Chavez (1) English Premier League (1) Eric Sogard (1) Eric Staal (1) Evan Gattis (1) Evan Longoria (1) Everton FC (1) Farhan Zaidi (1) Felix Hernandez (1) Football Association (1) Frank Viola (1) Frank Wren (1) Fred McGriff (1) Freddie Gray (1) Freddy Galvis (1) Garrett Williams (1) Gene Mauch (1) Geno Auriemma (1) Genoa (1) German traveling soccer championship (1) Gerry Hunsicker (1) Gonzaga Zags (1) Goran Dragic (1) Grant Green (1) Green Bay Packers (1) Greg Holland (1) Guggenheim Baseball Management (1) Halle Berry (1) Happy Chandler East (1) Happy Chandler West (1) Harry Carey (1) Hassan Whiteside (1) Heath Bell (1) Henry Aaron Award. (1) Houston (1) Howard Kendrick (1) Ian Kinsler (1) Ichiro Suzuki (1) Indiana Fever (1) Indiana Pacers (1) Italian traveling soccer championship (1) Ivan DeJesus (1) J.B. Schuck (1) J.J. Hardy (1) J.J.Hardy (1) J.P. Howell (1) Jack Kent Cooke (1) Jack McKeon (1) Jackie Robinson (1) Jake Marisnick (1) Jake Odorizzi (1) Jake Peavy (1) James Paxton (1) James Shielss (1) Jamie McCourt (1) Jamie Wright (1) Jared Weaver (1) Jarrod Dyson (1) Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1) Jason Giambi (1) Jason Hammel (1) Jason Heyward (1) Jason Isringhausen (1) Jason Zucker (1) Javy Guerra (1) Jeff Samadrzija (1) Jeff Samardjzia (1) Jhonny Peralta (1) Jim Abbott (1) Jim Eppard (1) Jim Eppel (1) Jim Fregosi (1) Jim Hickey (1) Jim Johnson (1) Jim Palmer (1) Jimmie Hall (1) Jimmy Nelson (1) Jimmy Piersall (1) Joc Pedersen (1) Joe Mauer (1) Joe Morgan (1) Joe Saunders (1) Joe Thatcher (1) Joe Torre (1) JoeGirardi (1) Joel Berry II (1) Joel Hanrahan (1) John Angelos (1) John Farrell (1) John Helyar (1) John Jay (1) John O'Donnell Stadium (1) John Roseboro (1) Johnny Cueto (1) Johnny Giavotella (1) Jon Niese (1) Jonathan Papelbon (1) Jonathan Quick (1) Jonathan Schoop (1) Jordan Lyles (1) Jose Abreu (1) Jose Bautista (1) Jose Peraza (1) Jose Quintana (1) Jose Reyes (1) Jose Valverde (1) Joseph Wapner (1) Josh Donaldson (1) Josh Harrison (1) Jozy Altidore (1) Juan Marichal (1) Juan Pierre (1) Juan Rivera (1) Justin Jackson (1) Justin Turner (1) Kansas City Royals Pittsburgh Pirates (1) Ken Rosenthal (1) Kentucky Wildcats (1) Kevin Correia (1) Kevin Jepson (1) Kevin Kiermaier (1) Kevin Malone (1) Kevin Tapani (1) Koji Uehara (1) Kole Calhoun (1) Kris Bryant (1) Kris Jenkins (1) Kris Medlen (1) Kwami Leonard (1) Kyle Kubitza (1) Kyle Seager (1) L.J. Hoes (1) La Liga (1) LaMarr Hoyt (1) Lance McCullers (1) Larry Dolan (1) Leicester City FC (1) LewWolff (1) Liga MX (1) Ligue 1 (1) Liverpool (1) Logan White (1) Lords of the Realm (1) Lorenzo Cain (1) Los Angeles Kings (1) Louisville Cardinals (1) Lyon (1) Major League Soccer (1) Major League Soccer standings (1) Marcell Ozuna (1) Marge Schott (1) Mariano Rivera (1) Mark McGwire (1) Mark Mulder (1) Mark Reynolds (1) Mark Scheifele (1) Martin Prado (1) Marvin Miller (1) Masahiro Tanaka (1) Matt Adams (1) Matt Carpenter (1) Matt Dominguez (1) Matt Harvey (1) Matt Joyce (1) Matt Moore (1) Matt Shoemaker (1) Matt Wieters (1) Max Kruse (1) Max Scherzer (1) Maya Moore (1) Memphis Grizzlies (1) Miami Hurricanes (1) Michael Bourn (1) Michael Cuddyer (1) Michael Roth (1) Michael Young (1) Mikael Granlund (1) Mike Bolsinger (1) Mike Ilitch (1) Mike Illitch (1) Mike Leake (1) Mike Matheny (1) Mike Minor (1) Mike Mussina (1) Mike Napoli (1) Mike Piazza (1) Mike Zunino (1) Mikko Koivu (1) MilwaukeeBrewers (1) Minnesota United FC (1) Mookie Betts (1) NBA (1) NBA Ear of Corn (1) NBA East Ear of Corn (1) NBA West Ear of Corn (1) NBA east traveling championship (1) NBA traveling championship (1) Napoli (1) Nashville Predators (1) National Football League (1) National Hockey League (1) National League Divisional Series (1) Nebraska Cornhuskers (1) Nes York Yankees (1) New England Patriots (1) New Jersey Devils (1) New Orleans Saints (1) New York FC (1) New York Knickerbockers (1) New York Liberty (1) New York Red Bulls (1) NewYork Yankees (1) Newcastle United (1) Nick Markakis (1) Nick Saban (1) Nino Niederreiter (1) Nolan Ryan (1) North American traveling soccer championship (1) North League (1) Oakland Raiders (1) PNC Park (1) Pachuca (1) Palermo (1) Paris Saint-Germain (1) Paul Maholm (1) Paul Molitor (1) Paul Splittorff (1) Pedro (1) Pekka Rinne (1) Pete Carroll (1) Peter Bourjos (1) Phil Hughes (1) Phil Jackson (1) Philadephia Eagles (1) Pittsburgh Steelers (1) Preston Tucker (1) Prince Fielder (1) Quad Cities Angels (1) R.A. Dickey (1) R.A.Dickey (1) Ralph Garr (1) Randy Choate (1) Real Sociedad (1) Reggie Jackson (1) Reims (1) Rich Gale (1) Rich Hill (1) Rick Monday (1) Rick Reichardt (1) Rickey Henderson (1) Robert Cannon (1) Robert Lurie (1) Roberto Hernandez (1) Roger Scruton (1) Rogers Hornsby (1) Rohinson Cano (1) Ron Cey (1) Ron Washington (1) Roughned Odor (1) Rubby De La Rosa (1) Ryan Howard (1) Ryan Ludwick (1) Sacramento Kings (1) Safeco Field (1) Salvador Perez (1) Sam LeCure (1) San Francico Giants (1) San Francisco Giants (1) San Jose (1) San Jose Sharks (1) Sandy Koufax (1) Scott Diamond (1) Scott Dres (1) Scott Kazmir (1) Sean Marshall (1) Sebastian Giovinco (1) Second Divison (1) Seimone Augustus (1) Serie A (1) Seth Smith (1) Sevilla FC (1) Shin-Soo Choo (1) Sonny Gray (1) South League (1) Southern California Trojans (1) Spanish traveling soccer championship (1) Sporting KC (1) Staples Center (1) Starlin Castro (1) Stephen Drew (1) Steve Carlton (1) Steve Garvey (1) Super Bowl (1) Swansea City (1) Sylvia Fowles (1) Taijuan Walker (1) Texas A&M Aggies (1) Texas Christian Horned Frogs (1) Tim Federowicz (1) Tim Holbrook (1) Tim Hudson (1) Tim Raines (1) Tina Charles (1) Todd Frazier (1) Toluca (1) Tom Glavine (1) Tom Seaver (1) Toronto Raptors (1) Toronton Blue Jays (1) Trevor May (1) Trevor Rosenthal (1) Tronto Blue Jays (1) Ty Cobb (1) UNAM (1) Utah Jazz (1) Vancouver Whitecaps (1) Vernon Wells (1) Victor Vázquez (1) Vladimir Guerrero. (1) WAR (1) Wade Davis (1) Wade LeBlanc (1) Wade Miley (1) Walter Haas (1) Walter O'Malley (1) Wandy Rodriguez (1) Warren Giles League (1) Washington Mystics (1) Washington Natinals (1) Washington Redskins (1) Washington Senators (1) Watford (1) Wellington Castillo (1) West Ham United (1) Will Myers (1) Wilmer Flores (1) Wily Peralta (1) Wins Above Replacement (1) Wisconsin Badgers (1) Yadier Molina (1) Yan Gomes (1) Yankee Stadium (1) Yuli Gurriel (1) Zach Britton (1) Zach Parise (1) Zack Cozart (1) baseball (1) baseball continental traveling championship (1) baseball traveling championship (1) college football (1) college football national traveling championship (1) continental traveling hockey championship (1) drug testing (1) eastern hockey traveling championship (1) hockey traveling championship (1) pro basketbal traveling championship (1) pro basketball Ear of Corn (1) realignment (1) steven Souza (1) test (1) traveling championship (1) western basketball traveling championship (1) western hockey traveling championship (1) western pro hockey traveling championship (1) women's pro basketball First Division (1)