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Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Marlon Byrd on the move?

By Matt Ehalt

NEW YORK -- With four weeks to the trade deadline, more and more names will start popping up as trade targets as the July 31 deadline approaches. One Mets player who could draw interest is outfielder Marlon Byrd, who is hitting .262 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs and has hit well the past two months.

Byrd, who has been traded twice before, knows the Mets could potentially move him. Byrd believes that a trade would indicate he's accomplished what he's set out do in Flushing this season.

"I have one goal every single year, especially a new team I'm with -- When I come to an organization, to make sure when I leave that they're better off," Byrd said.

"If they end up trading me and getting some pieces that could contribute later, I've done my job.

"I try to do better every single year, I try to become a better ball player. The big thing is making sure the Mets, when I do leave, whenever that is, they're better off than before I got here."

After a slow start to the season, Byrd has potentially made himself attractive to contending teams by being productive over the past two months. Since May 1, Byrd is hitting .275 with 11 homers and 30 RBIs, and he hit .282 with a .900 slugging percentage in June. His 12 homers have him tied for the second-most on the team with David Wright, and he's just two RBIs behind the third baseman for the team lead.

"I'm comfortable up there," Byrd said. "It's always a work in progress. You're always working to get better. I need to make sure I'm hitting my pitches, not swinging at balls. I've done that a couple of times. I can do a little better job with runners in scoring position. It's always a work in progress."

Byrd is enjoying a career revival after a rough 2012 season. In 47 games with Boston and Chicago, he hit just .210 with one homer, and was suspended 50 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He previously had several productive seasons for the Cubs and Rangers.

The Mets took a shot on Byrd, inviting him to spring training, and it's worked out thus far. Byrd's been cleanup hitter in 17 of the last 18 games, helping provide much-needed protection for Wright.

"He has stabilized the middle of our lineup," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

"When Ike [Davis] was struggling, Lucas [Duda] was struggling, we were looking for that guy to hit behind David that would drive in big runs. Marlon was that guy."

Entering Wednesday's game, which will be the halfway point for the Mets, Byrd is on pace for a career-high in homers, and the second-most RBIs of his 12-year career.
The right-fielder said there isn't any extra satisfaction in producing at this rate after enduring a tumultuous 2012 campaign.

"We're three months into the season. I'll finish my career the way I want to, then there will be satisfaction. Three months means absolutely nothing in a long career," Byrd said. "That's what I've learned at a very young age. You have to continue to stay on top any way you can. It's the big leagues, this game is very humbling. It's easy to be at the bottom very quickly."