Byrd Still The Word?

It’s been a long and trying season for Marlon Byrd.

In addition to dealing with the Cubs dismal record, he’s faced the huge challenge of returning from a six week stay on the DL recovering from multiply facial fractures after suffering a beanball to his left eye on May 21 in Boston.

Just watching that happened made it seem unlikely Byrd would return at all this season. True to his positive character, however, Byrd returned 39 games later to take his spot in center field.

How Byrd would fare following his injury was an expected uncertainty. After all, this wasn’t your typical return from the DL, a pulled hammy, a tight calf…Byrd had been beaned in the face, and that was certain to stick in the back of his mind at the plate.

Not surprisingly, Byrd’s overall numbers have suffered since July 2, his first game back with the Cubs.

His batting average has tanked by 24 points, his on-base percentage dropped by 15 and he’s hit just 4 HR, driven in 9 RBI and grounded into 8 double plays since the injury.

To top it off, Byrd is hitting a dreadful .193 with RISP and finished the homestand on the bench after enduring a 1-for-18 stretch at the dish.

That said, Byrd shouldn’t be judged by numbers alone this season. Instead, he should earn high praise for simply returning from a gruesome injury, his sparkling defense in center field, his positive attitude and for not giving up on himself or the Cubs

Byrd will certainly fall short of his career averages come season’s end, but numbers aside, 2011 proves to be one of his best years given the circumstances.

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