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Sveum's patience not indefinite with Byrd

4/18/2012

MIAMI -- Ever the optimist, Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum says he sees some signs of life from the struggling Marlon Byrd.

“I thought he swung the bat a lot better today in early batting practice,” Sveum said. “Hopefully there are some adjustments made, but I thought he was much more aggressive. Even his swings [Tuesday] I thought were at least much more aggressive and not so defensive.”

Byrd entered Wednesday’s game batting just .059 and has been hitting down in the No. 8 spot pretty much since the end of the opening series of the season.

It’s not just his inability to get hits -- he had just two heading into Wednesday’s game -- he is having a hard time simply hitting balls out of the infield, if he hits them at all (he has eight strikeouts).

Since Byrd isn’t going to break out of his funk by sitting on the bench, Sveum is willing to be patient, but only to a point.

“He will go out there, and [we will] see what happens after 100 or so at-bats,” Sveum said.

Byrd had 34 at-bats after 11 games and doesn’t figure to hit the 100 at-bat mark until the start of May. Even then it doesn’t mean Byrd will be benched, just that the club will have a better sample size to judge his production or lack thereof.

“We have to get him going; we have to get him swinging the bat,” Sveum said. “That’s a big part of our lineup. He’s been playing a nice center field, making some good catches and doing a good job out there. It’s nice to see he’s playing hard, he’s battling and he’s working his butt off to get out of it.”