Good news on the Marlon Byrd recovery front. After he went down in a heap following a fastball to the face, it would have been fair to assume that Byrd was done for the year. But his injury wasn’t as bad as feared, and his rehab has been swift and successful thus far.
Byrd says he’s about a week away from a rehab assignment.
“I’ll get full sprints in in Kansas City probably Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” Byrd said of the upcoming weekend trip. “Then I’ll fly back here and on Monday morning head out to Des Moines.”
Byrd’s rehab stint might be one of the most important such stints in recent years. It will demonstrate whether he’s ready to stand firm in the batter’s box, something that must be incredibly difficult for even the toughest guy who’s taken one off the head. If all goes well, Byrd could be back for the July 4 series in Washington.
Perhaps the biggest (read: most selfish) reason to root for a quick, successful return for Byrd? The Cubs need Byrd to show other teams that the injury did not impact his play so that they will have the option of trading him before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. As tremendous a teammate as Byrd is, he’s not the future in center field for this team (hopefully Brett Jackson is), and, if he’s playing up to his ability, he has some trade value. Even if Jackson isn’t ready to take over in a few weeks, the Cubs can continue to platoon Tony Campana and Reed Johnson in the absence of Byrd. Of course, Johnson may himself be a trade piece, but let’s consider one player at a time.