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posted: 4/26/2012 9:25 PM

Marlon Byrd both apologetic, thankful to Cubs

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  • Former Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd, who was traded to the Red Sox on Saturday, signs autographs before Thursday's game against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

      Former Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd, who was traded to the Red Sox on Saturday, signs autographs before Thursday's game against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 

Marlon Byrd came back to Chicago on Thursday as a .308 hitter with the Boston Red Sox.

Even though we're talking small sample size, that was enough to put a smile on Byrd's face as he walked into U.S. Cellular Field.

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On Saturday, Byrd found himself traded from the Cubs to the Red Sox as an .070 hitter after a horrendous 3-for-43 start.

"I had to kind of apologize for starting so slow when they traded me," Byrd said before taking center field for the Red Sox in their game against the White Sox. "I think they could have got more. I did what I could over there, and I wish them the best."

Byrd added that he did more than apologize to Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, who traded him for reliever Michael Bowden and a player to be named later.

"I thanked Theo and Jed for putting me in a great situation," he said. "To go from Chicago to Boston, I'm not losing anything in fans, I'm not losing in tradition, I'm not losing anything in culture. I'm coming here to help this team."

Time will tell. Byrd got off to a 4-for-13 start for the Red Sox. He spent just over two years with the Cubs, putting up lines of .293/.346/.429 with 12 homers in 2010 and .267/.324/.395 with 9 homers last year.

Byrd missed six weeks last season after being hit in the face with a pitch at Boston in May. He couldn't get the offense going again.

"Last year, I came back and gave it my all, 100 percent like I always do, and I didn't hit," he said. "At the same time, I had all off-season to work and find my swing, which I obviously didn't do.

"Right now, it's really hard to tell. I'm not even 100 at-bats in. Probably 200 at-bats in, I'll be where I need to be."

That said, the 34-year-old Byrd was realistic when he talked of his career track record making him attractive to the Red Sox.

"Without the track record, I'm not over here," he said. "I'm probably released or gone or sent to Triple-A. The track record is what got me over here."

Byrd said he was not surprised to have been traded. The Cubs have prospect Brett Jackson waiting at Class AAA Iowa, but they're now going with a trio in center of Tony Campana, Reed Johnson and Joe Mather.

"I knew I was going to get traded," he said. "Brett Jackson is the future over there. I just didn't know when. I didn't think it would be April."

As far as the Cubs go, Byrd said he believes they're on the right track.

"It's going to be a couple years," he said. "I said this when Theo came over. My guess was by 2014-15, they're going to be ready to contend every year. Not just be good that year, but from that point on, start a dynasty, kind of like the Phillies did, kind of like the Braves did."

Byrd said his relationship with the fans in the Wrigley Field bleachers remained good, even with the slow start. He played good defense, including some of his trademark diving catches.

"Every day I'd come out, they'd say, 'Hey, Marlon, you got to get that average up,'" he said. "They loved me for the player I was, and that's playing hard. I'm sure a couple weeks go by, the boos would have come out. You got to respect that. You've got to respect the fans. They cheered me every day."

bmiles@dailyherald.com

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