Results tagged ‘ Eric Byrnes ’

Parting of ways best for Byrnes, D-backs

Like a bad marriage, the relationship between Eric Byrnes and the D-backs needed to come to an end and the sooner the better.

Initially I thought releasing Byrnes before Spring Training was not the right choice. Instead, it seemed better to have him come to camp and who knew maybe he would find the magic from 2007 and either play his way into a contributing spot on the roster or even improve his trade value to the point where some team might be willing to pay $1 million of the money he was owed for 2010.

In case you missed my tweet (@dbackswriter) on Wednesday, Byrnes was officially released after being designated for assignment last Friday.

The acquisition of Adam LaRoche changed my thinking. It pushed Conor Jackson back to left field and Gerardo Parra into a fourth outfielder. That meant that the best Byrnes could hope for was to come to camp and win the fifth outfielder spot.

In talking to both parties this past week that clearly was not in anyone’s best interests.

While I don’t think Byrnes would have intentionally been a distraction, I think the very fact that a player set to earn $11 million was trying to win a fifth outfield spot would have been a distraction in and of itself.

So for a team that needs to quickly gather round a young manager in his first Spring Training, it probably was best that the Byrnes question not hover over A.J. Hinch throughout camp.

From Brynes’ standpoint the release is a good thing. Rather than have to worry about coming getting enough time during the spring to win a fifth spot in the outfield or get released near the end of camp when most teams have their rosters already set, he has the next few weeks to find the right fit.

That essentially is what Byrnes and his agent are doing right now. Trying to find a team that will give him an invite to Spring Training with a chance to win a platoon or fourth outfield spot. And, well, he does still get his $11 million.

Byrnes has surgery

Eric Byrnes had successful surgery Friday to repair a broken bone in his left hand. The surgery was performed by hand specialist Don Sheridan.

The D-backs outfielder was hit by a pitch from Bruce Feldman on Thursday night and fractured the fifth metacarpal in the hand. A plate and screw were inserted into the hand, Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said.

Byrnes is expected to miss four to six weeks.

It’s a tough break for Byrnes, who battled through hamstring problems last year. It’s been a frustrating go for him since he signed a three-year $30 million extension towards the end of the 2007 season. Last year was basically a lost year for him and now this one could be as well.

4 for 3 turns into 2 for 1

Throughout the offseason and Spring Training, D-backs manager Bob Melvin talked about how having four outfielders — Conor Jackson, Chris Young, Justin Upton and Eric Byrnes — for three spots would be a good thing.

It would build competition. It would allow him to give guys days off. They could match up with opposing starting pitchers.

Instead, trying to find the right combination has proved to be a bigger-than-expected challenge for Melvin.

“It seems like it’s been a little bit hard on all of them,” Melvin said.

Indeed, none of the four seem to have found their stride offensively, particularly Conor Jackson, who has started just 16 of the team’s first 20 games.

“We really didn’t envision here at the beginning of the season,” Melvin said of Jackson’s off days. “We felt like he was a guy that based on what he did last year deserved to be out there every day. He’s just gotten off to a little bit of a slow start and I expect him to pick it up and I expect him to play the majority of the games because he really did earn that last year.”

With Melvin saying that Upton needs to play every day and Young as well, it seems as though it has now come down to two players — Jackson and Byrnes — for one spot.

“I wish it hadn’t, but it seems like it is a little bit,” Melvin said. “It’s just a problem that we have. You’d really like to see somebody get hot and take the spot because I really would like to run a mostly everyday lineup out there.”

Not so much on Byrnes debut

Yeah so about Eric Byrnes starting on Tuesday against the A’s at Phoenix Muni, it ain’t happening.

D-backs manager Bob Melvin said they are going to have Byrnes play in another Minor League game or two so that he will get some reps in the field before throwing him in the starting lineup in a Cactus League game.

Max Scherzer, however, is still on target to make his Cactus League debut on Tuesday.

Get your Tuesday tickets

It looks like Tuesday could be a day of debuts for the D-backs when they take on the A’s at Phoenix Muni.

Manager Bob Melvin just told us that right-hander Max Scherzer will make his first start of the spring in that game and there is a good chance Eric Byrnes also sees his first Cactus League action.

Byrnes will run the bases in a simulated game over at Minor League camp this morning and if that goes well he could get the start on Tuesday against his former team.

Day 1 — well sort of

Today was the start of Spring Training for the D-backs, though most of the players will not arrive at the complex until Sunday. In previous years, the team has done its physicals on the report day, but this year they are going to do them in the morning on Sunday.

A warning to those of you wanting to watch the first workout on Sunday, it will begin around noon rather than the usual 9:00 or 9:30 because of the aforementioned physicals.

So it was a slow day Saturday, with only a few noteworthy items:

— Eric Byrnes was in camp and continuing his work on returning from last year’s hamstring injuries. You can read more of what Byrnes had to say in my story from today, but the main thing is he is determined to grab more playing time.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out as the spring goes on. Manager Bob Melvin said on Saturday that Byrnes’ presence is a good thing because it creates competition within the 25-man roster for playing time, but it could also make for a sticky situation for him as he tries to find playing time between Conor Jackson, Byrnes and Chad Tracy.

I asked Melvin about the possibility of Byrnes getting playing time in left and Jackson at first against tough left-handed pitchers and he said it was a possibility, but that Tony Clark needs to have regular at-bats in order to stay fresh for his late-game pinch-hitting appearances.

— Tony Pena is in camp, which is certainly a relief for the team — no pun intended of course. The setup man has had visa problems ever since he lied about his name several years ago.

— Speaking of Pena, he gave bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock the nickname “Father Bullpen” on Saturday. Not sure if that has staying power, but I like it.

That’s about it for today. We’ll check back in tomorrow. I am curious as to how you guys think this whole thing with Byrnes will play out. Feel free to post it in the comments section and we’ll follow up.