Marlon Byrd returns to Phillies a good outfielder

Marlon Byrd
Marlon Byrd will return to the Phillies outfield in 2014 for his second your of duty with the team. He previously played with the club from 2002-2005. Credit: Getty Images

It was easy for pundits and fans to accentuate the negative when Marlon Byrd signed on for a second tour of duty with the Phillies in November.

Byrd, 36, is actually older than Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz, who are each 35 and 34-year old Ryan Howard.

Byrd was hit with a 50-game PEDS suspension. He signed a two-year $16 million contract.

A common question from the frustrated fan base has been why did the Phillies sign an old, relatively expensive player, who has taken performance enhancing drugs?.

“There are two big reasons,” a NL scout said. “Byrd is great at hitting left-handed pitchers and it’s not a lengthy deal.”

Exactly. It was wise for the Phillies not to commit to a long-term deal with an expensive left-handed bat, such as Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo. The damage Byrd has done to southpaws is impossible to ignore.

In 2013, he hit a staggering .344 with a .959 OPS against lefties. Only the Red Sox catalyst Dustin Pedroia had a higher batting average against left-handed pitching in the MLB.

Byrd will follow up the best season of his career, in which he hit 24 homers with 88 RBIs and 35 doubles, while hitting .291. Will Byrd replicate those numbers? Probably not.  But the odds are that he’ll be much better than Darin Ruf in the lineup and in right field. Ruf struggled mightily against southpaws, only hitting an anemic .197 against them and the doughy Nebraskan is unpolished in the outfield, while the sculpted Byrd is a strong corner outfielder, who believes he can actually top the finest season of his career.

“I’ll be better than last year,” Byrd said. “I worked very hard on my new mechanics.”

It’s not as if last season was an aberration. Byrd was an All-Star in 2010 and has been consistent at the plate for years. Byrd brushes off questions about his team being too long of tooth. “To me, it’s about if you can play the game and keep yourself healthy,” Byrd said. “We have guys on this team that won it all and you look at baseball and there have been guys our age that have had great success…we can play. We have a lot in the tank.”

And then there is the issue of PEDs. Shortly after signing with the Phillies, Byrd went on vacation and took a hiatus from interviews, which often touched on his use of  But he’s back facing the PEDs questions once again. “I was stupid,” Byrd said. “I took something. I didn’t do my due diligence. I rebounded from it and had a good season last year. I’ve moved on.”

It wasn’t a difficult decision for Byrd to return to Philadelphia. “It was easy to move back here,” Byrd said. “I continued following the Phillies after I left and I stayed in touch with my friends here. I was so excited when they made the playoffs and they were making their run (in 2008). I came to games and was waving my towel like a fan. I absolutely loved it and I’m glad to be back.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

Movies

Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.

Education

Does the school day start too early?

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of…

Style

Fall 2014 trend: lilac

Push those gray and black sweaters aside and make room for blush and lilac.