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There was no guarantee for Byrd

08.30.09 at 6:08 pm ET
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According to Paul Byrd, there were no guarantees from the Red Sox that he was ever going to wear a major league uniform again.

Byrd confirmed after his return to the Sox, Sunday afternoon — in which he pitched six shutout innings without giving up a run in his team’s 7-0 win over the Blue Jays — that he had no guarantee from the Red Sox, formal or informal, that he would be added to the big league club by the time rosters expanded on Sept. 1.

“I wanted to make sure I deserved it,” Byrd said. “If I wasn’t going to be good enough I have them have to bring me up here.”

There had been a report out of New York that suggested Byrd had turned down the Yankees’ offer when New York wouldn’t assure a Sept. 1 promotion. The blog post in the New York Post linked the Yankees’ reported claiming of minor league first baseman Chris Carter — one of the players thought to be sent to the Mets in the Billy Wagner trade — with the Yanks’ assumption that the Red Sox had agreed the reported request by Byrd.

In the Friday post, The Post’s Joel Sherman wrote: “When the Yanks learned that Carter was one of the players that was going to the Mets in the Billy Wagner deal, they claimed Carter him on waivers and forced Boston to pull the outfielder/first baseman back. One reason was they assumed Boston had to make the same deal with Byrd — to bring him up on Sept. 1 — that the Yanks refused. So that meant Byrd has to be put on the 40-man roster. So the Yanks figured they could cause some 40-man roster havoc for their main nemesis by forcing Carter back on the 40-man, as well, at a time when Wagner, too, had to be added and Daisuke Matsuzaka is close to coming back from the 60-day DL.”

Because the Red Sox 40-man roster stood at 38 prior to the activation of Byrd, Sunday, no move was necessary. It is assumed that the final roster spot will be taken by Daisuke Matsuzaka — who is currently on the 60-day disabled list — upon his return from a rehab assignment.

“I’ll take it a day at a time,” Byrd said. “I work hard , I feel like I’m in shape, I feel really good. My arm has appreciated the rest. My arm feels very strong. I just want to stay sharp and whatever happens with me happens with me. I want a World Series ring and any way I can help this team get that. If they need me to clean toilets I’ll go do that. I’m excited and whatever they need me to do I’ll do. I told that to Tito. I said I’ll help you out any way I can. I’ll get ready and whatever you need me to do I’ll do.”

Byrd had fielded offers from teams during the offseason, but chose to spend time with his family instead of signing. But the plan went astray when May and June came and went without any interest. Yet as the season further progressed, the 38-year-old began to get some phone calls from major league clubs, which ultimately led him to signing a minor league deal with the Red Sox on Aug. 5.

“I had some nice offers, which is hard,” said Byrd of the interest in his services prior to the season. “It’s hard because I love to compete, I love to get out. But I’ve drug my kids all over the country and they’ve never been able to play on a baseball team. Their school’s getting a little more serious. My family had just reached that point. My wife looked at me and I just knew I needed to take some time off that first part of the year and then I couldn’t get back in it. That was tough because I felt like I could still bring something to the table.”

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