7/2 Byrd activated; Montanez to Iowa

Marlon Byrd slid home, stole a base, broke up a double play and was hit by a pitch twice during his four-game Minor League rehab stint with Triple-A Iowa.

“I’m ready,” Byrd said.

The center fielder was back in the Cubs’ lineup on Saturday, activated from the disabled list six weeks since he was hit by pitch in the face by Boston’s Alfredo Aceves. He will wear a protective guard on his batting helmet that extends around the left side of his face as a precaution.

“It’s comfortable and doesn’t get in the way, so I’ll wear it,” he said.

Byrd suffered multiple facial fractures when he was hit in the face by Aceves’ pitch at Fenway Park. He still has a small dark purple bruise under his left eye. In four rehab games at Triple-A Iowa, Byrd was 4-for-15 with a double, a home run and three RBIs, including a 1-for-4 game on Friday. He also was hit by a pitch twice, getting plunked in the back and the hamstring.

That’s different than being hit in the face but Byrd said he had no lingering fears during his at-bats at Iowa.

“I took one [in the face] as a 9-year-old and that can’t compare to what happened so I’m not a very good expert to talk about it,” Cubs manager Mike Quade said. “The one thing I do know is when you talk about the character and toughness he’s got, he’ll be fine.

“All indications are that he came out of Iowa swinging the bat really well,” Quade said. “It’s part of the game and something I have no doubt Marlon has overcome.”

— Carrie Muskat

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