7/4 Byrd is Cubs' lone All-Star

Alfonso Soriano says Marlon Byrd inspires him with how hard he plays every day. Lou Piniella likes the outfielder’s energy. On Sunday, the players, managers and coaches in the National League showed how much they respect the Cubs center fielder.

Byrd was named to his first All-Star team on Sunday, selected in the Players Ballot, determined by National League players, managers and coaches.

“It’s been a long road for me,” said Byrd, who is playing for his fourth team. “With the players voting me, too, that’s just a huge honor for me. They’ve seen what I’ve been doing this year and they’ve given me this opportunity to represent the Cubs.”

Piniella gave Byrd the news during batting practice on Sunday.

“Marlon’s done a nice job for us,” Piniella said. “He plays hard, he’s got some energy to him, he does a nice job out in center field. It was a good signing by [general manager] Jim Hendry. He’s been a good positive for us.”

Byrd said: “[Lou] was happy and it put a smile on his face. We haven’t given him much to smile about lately. Today, he was very happy for me.”

Byrd bounced back and forth between the Major Leagues and Minors from 2002-07, and didn’t become a regular until he went to Texas in 2007. He credited coaches Gary Pettis and Rudy Jaramillo, now with the Cubs, and Rangers manager Ron Washington for helping him achieve the honor.

“You need to have people believe in you,” Byrd said.

He’s one of two players in the NL with at least 30 multi-hit games and at least 25 doubles. He leads MLB in doubles (with Philly’s Jayson Werth) and ranks fourth in hits and sixth in batting average.

– Carrie Muskat

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