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Saturday, April 28, 2012
Valentine lauds CF Marlon Byrd

By Sahadev Sharma




CHICAGO -- When the Boston Red Sox acquired Marlon Byrd from the Chicago Cubs, no one expected from the veteran outfielder. Byrd had started the season off in a horrible slump, amassing only three singles for a .070 batting average for the Cubs. But with injuries to star outfielders Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury and with fourth outfielder Jason Repko heading to the DL, the Sox were a team in desperate need of another outfielder who could play center field.

Since joining the Red Sox, Byrd is hardly lighting the world on fire (.318 BA/.318 OBP/ .318 SLG), but he’s already more than doubled the amount of hits he had in Chicago, with seven, and he's playing solid defense in center. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine believes Byrd brings more to the table than just what he does on the field.

“I just like his attitude, he’s got a bounce in his step,” Valentine said. “He’s ready to go, I don’t want to say it’s contagious, but it was a great added feature to our group. He’s getting hits and that’s all that matters. Great trade, the exact pickup we needed.”

Valentine said in the small sample that he’s seen of Byrd, he’s been pleased with his defense, as Byrd has gotten good reads and jumps while patrolling center. Byrd is still without an extra-base hit on the season and hasn’t taken a walk while with the Red Sox, something that’s counter to the Red Sox's philosophy of plate discipline and patience. But clearly Valentine wasn’t concerned with Byrd's approach. The manager is just happy that his new center fielder is starting to turn things around after an awful start in Chicago.