Former teammates wish Byrd good luck

Former teammates wish Byrd good luck

Former teammates wish Byrd good luck
CHICAGO -- Tony Campana started on Sunday in center field for the Cubs, and he will rotate with Reed Johnson and Joe Mather there following the departure of Marlon Byrd, who was traded to the Red Sox on Saturday night.

"We had a chance to get a reliever, and the Red Sox really wanted [Byrd] to play center field since they lost [Jacoby] Ellsbury," manager Dale Sveum said of the move. "I think for both [teams] it's good. He'll go to another great city and have some fun. I'm sure they'll start playing better than they are now.

"[Byrd] didn't get off to the start he wanted to, but he played great center field for us and plays hard. He's a great example for everybody. It's a great opportunity for him and a chance for us to get a young reliever to help us out."

The Cubs sent Byrd and cash considerations to the Red Sox in exchange for reliever Michael Bowden, who was designated for assignment April 15, and a player to be named later. That player was expected to be a pitcher.

"We'll miss Marlon," Johnson said. "He plays the game the right way, he plays hard. It's a good example to follow. Even with his struggles this year, you watched him and he never changed the way he played the game. He played hard, was still making plays defensively. Grounding out or flying out, he was always hustling down to first or standing on second base when that guy was catching the fly ball. Teammates have a lot of respect for him for the way he played the game.

"There was always that thought that he was going to turn things around, and he would've at some point."

Sveum pointed out that a lot of players struggle at the beginning of the season, including Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg.

"For an everyday player like Marlon who has had a history of succeeding, you don't panic about it," Sveum said. "We needed Marlon to get going, and the only way you get going is by playing."

Byrd joins the team that nearly ended his career. Last May, he was hit in the face by a pitch from the Red Sox reliever Alfredo Aceves and suffered multiple facial fractures. Byrd returned and finished with a .276 average in 119 games. Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster said that if that incident still bothered Byrd, he never showed it.

"He was a pro's pro," Dempster said. "He came every day and played as hard as he could. He was as prepared as anybody. We'll miss that around here. He's getting an opportunity to go there and play. Obviously they had a need. I enjoyed every moment as a teammate and as a friend and wish him nothing but the best."