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Saturday, December 2

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Cubs Wed Mar 16 2011

Byrd is the Word for the Cubs

marlon byrd.jpg

Marlon Byrd / Tribune photo: Phil Velasquez

Marlon Byrd was fantastic last season after coming over from the Texas Rangers and he has picked up where he left off. In 11 games this spring, he is hitting 15-for-30 with four doubles, a home run and four RBIs.

The former Phillies and Nationals outfielder fared well in his return to the senior circuit last season, batting .293 with 12 home runs, 66 RBIs and a .775 OPS. The numbers aren't eye-popping, but they are right in line with his career numbers. His first-half numbers were good enough to earn him his first trip to the All-Star Game, where he played a huge role in securing the National League's first win since 1996.

One of Byrd's best attributes is his hustle every day. He gives it 100 percent each time out there and it showed every time he took the field last year. It's hard to root against a guy like Byrd. Cubs fans quickly embraced him last season and vice-versa. He is a prime example how the game of baseball should be played. He runs out everything and leaves nothing to chance. The game would be better off with more guys who carry the same attitude as Byrd does.

What can Cubs fans expect from their center fielder in 2011? Well, pretty much the same thing as last year. Look for him to hit near .300 as he is probably past his adjustment period in a Cubs uniform, along with a dozen or so home runs and somewhere around 70 RBIs. Before coming to the Cubs he posted career highs with 20 home runs and 89 RBIs in 2009 with the Rangers.

Byrd has been projected to bat in the No. 3 spot in the order and should fare nicely with Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez batting behind him. Byrd earned his all-star appearance not because of his bat, but his hustle. Sure putting up respectable numbers helps, but what this game is all about is playing hard every single play and Byrd is the poster child for that.

However the season plays out, he's going to give you 100 percent effort every time he takes the field and that is all that fans can ask for.

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