A familiar face was walking around Wrigley Field today. Marlon Byrd, who has been out since May 21st after being struck near the eye with a pitch, is back from Iowa. While there has been no word yet, it’s possible he could be activated today or tomorrow. Reed Johnson and Tony Campana have been playing in his place and have filled in admirably, but Campana may be the odd man out when Byrd is re-activated.
When Byrd returns, the Cubs will have a completely healthy lineup for the first time in what seems like forever. It’s too late for the Cubs to make a run at the division title, but how they perform offensively in the next few weeks may help determine what the Cubs plans are heading toward the trade deadline. Byrd, in particular, has been the subject of trade rumors and while he’s signed for next season, he isn’t part of the team’s long term plans. At the same time, Jim Hendry has said he doesn’t intend on trading anyone who they expect can help them next year…does Byrd fit into this category? It’s hard to say.
Complicating matters is that Brett Jackson has been mired in a slump since returning from his hand injury. It’s possible he could still be suffering from some lingering effects, and at any rate, it’s obvious he hasn’t been the same hitter lately. If Jackson were performing as he did earlier in the year, he could have made the Marlon Byrd decision easy.
If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say the Cubs may hang on to Byrd to at least start the season next year and give Jackson more time to develop. At that point, he’ll be an expiring contract and teams may become interested in acquiring him for the stretch run.
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