2/18 Byrd: “There’s a good feeling here”
The Cubs head into the season as underdogs in the NL Central. That’s OK with Marlon Byrd.
“Everyone’s counting us out so I’m sure they’ll have us down with the Astros, Pirates, whoever,” Byrd said Saturday. “That’s fine with us.”
He pointed out that the Cardinals were 10 1/2 games out and ended up winning a World Series. One aspect of the team that is suspect is the pitching. There’s a lot of new faces.
“We got a lot of guys who can throw it,” Byrd said. “With [Travis] Wood and [Chris] Volstad, those guys, you have guys you’ve faced and you’ve seen the talent they have and you’ve seen what they can do. You hope the change of scenery really helps them big time. At the same time, we have competition. We have a lot of guys here — Andy Sonnanstine, Rodrigo Lopez — to push guys. It’ll be fun and nice to watch those guys compete and develop at the same time.”
Byrd has been in Mesa, Ariz., for a few weeks. Has he had a chance to lobby with manager Dale Sveum for his preferred spot in the lineup? Not yet, he said. Byrd and Sveum have talked about hitting, situational baseball and playing the game right. Where does he want to hit?
“Put me in the lineup, that’s it,” Byrd said. “I’m going to dictate where I am by the way I’m hitting. I started in the three hole and ended up in the six, seven hole. I showed I wasn’t hitting. If I’m hitting, they’ll put me where I need to be.”
This is the last year of Byrd’s contract with the Cubs. He’d like to stay.
“I don’t want to go anywhere,” he said. “I came to Chicago for a reason and that’s to help them win and I haven’t done that yet. I have a lot to accomplish here. I just have to go out there and do what I can to help this team win. if they want me here, I’m definitely going to be here.”
So far, the tone in camp is good.
“There’s a different feeling around here, and it’s a good feeling,” he said.
— Carrie Muskat