Red Sox get RHP Paul Byrd in trade with Indians
By HOWARD ULMAN
BOSTON (AP)—The Boston Red Sox acquired pitcher Paul Byrd from Cleveland on Tuesday, hoping to boost a rotation hurt by an injury to Tim Wakefield and the struggles of Clay Buchholz.
The Red Sox will send either a player to be named or cash to the Indians.
The 37-year-old Byrd is 7-10 with a 4.53 ERA this season. But he has won all four of his starts since the All-Star break with a 1.24 ERA.
Boston began play Tuesday in second place in the AL East, four games behind Tampa Bay. The Red Sox were two games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the wild-card race.
“Give me a few minutes before I talk,” Byrd said as he packed up in the Indians clubhouse. “I’m not lucid right now. I’m saying funny things. Give me a half-hour and I’ll talk.”
Byrd was in Cleveland before Tuesday’s game against Baltimore when the trade was announced.
The Red Sox made their second key deal in 13 days. Minutes before the deadline of 4 p.m. on July 31, they sent slugger Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers in a three-team trade that brought them left fielder Jason Bay from Pittsburgh.
The Indians, in last place in the AL Central, traded lefty C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee on July 7. Then they sent third baseman Casey Blake to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 26.
Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka have had strong seasons for the defending World Series champion Red Sox, but Wakefield is on the disabled list with a stiff right shoulder and Buchholz is 0-6 with an 8.19 ERA in his last eight starts.
The Red Sox called up knuckleballer Charlie Zink from Triple-A Pawtucket to make his major league debut Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers.
Byrd was at Fenway Park for Game 7 of last year’s AL championship series on the day the San Francisco Chronicle reported he had used human growth hormone from 2002-2005. He then said before the game that he had used HGH for a medical condition but that he never injected the banned drug without a doctor’s prescription.
“I have nothing to hide,” Byrd said about two hours before Game 7, in which Boston clinched the ALCS with its third straight win. “Everything has been done out in the open. I have a reputation. I do not want the fans of Cleveland or honest, caring people to think that I cheated.
“Because I didn’t.”
He said in spring training that he met with baseball officials on Dec. 17 in New York but gave no details. He also said the offseason was “stressful.”
Byrd went 15-8 with a 4.59 ERA in 31 starts last season, his most wins since 2002 with Kansas City. He won both his starts in the playoffs—in Game 4 of the AL division series against the New York Yankees and in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Red Sox.
Byrd, a soft tosser with a classic, double-pump windup, struggled through the first three months of the season with a 3-10 record and 5.53 ERA.
But in each of his last three starts he went at least seven innings. Byrd pitched his first complete game of the season in his last start, the 4-2 win at Toronto on Saturday.
The turnaround came after a chat with former All-Star Bert Blyleven, now doing television work with the Minnesota Twins. Byrd credited Blyleven with giving him a refresher course on throwing the curveball.
For his career, Byrd is 104-91 with a 4.37 ERA for Cleveland, the New York Mets, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Kansas City and the Angels. He was drafted in the fourth round in 1991 by the Indians after he helped Louisiana State to its first College World Series championship, then reached the majors in 1995 with the Mets.
Byrd went 15-11 for Philadelphia in 1999 and made the NL All-Star team. He was 2-9 in 2000 and had shoulder surgery that forced him to miss much of 2001.
Byrd’s best year was 2002 with the Royals, when he went 17-11 with a 3.90 ERA after signing as a free agent.