At 35, Marlon Byrd has accepted his mistakes and can only hope that his next opportunity with the NY Mets will be one of redemption and not of folly. Byrd's career took a humiliating turn when it was found that he had dabbled in the not-so-glamorous world of Major League Baseball's banned substances which eventually landed him with a 50-game suspension. Byrd was caught taking Tomoxifen which is not a performance-enhancing drug but aids in the prevention of breast tissue growth in men and also stops post-cycle crashes that stem from steroid use.
"It was something stupid," Byrd said. "Whether I was trying to cheat or was not trying to cheat, it was a banned substance. It was not a steroid. But, again, you take something on the banned list you're going to get caught. As simple as that."
Byrd technically didn't miss any major league games last year because he had been released by the Boston Red Sox prior to his suspension. MLB decided to honor his absence from the game as compensation for the suspension. Byrd will be allowed to play at the start of the 2013 season granted he makes the opening day roster for the Mets.
If he's able to return to the All-Star form of 2010 which produced 170 hits leading to a .293 batting average for the Chicago Cubs, Byrd could be a very interesting story line for the Mets this season. Byrd also had 39 doubles, 12 home runs, and a .346 on-base percentage that year while playing in 152 games.
For a team like the Mets who are desperate for veteran help in their outfield, Byrd could be the perfect match as an everyday player in right field or even center field. Mets manager Terry Collins doesn't just see Byrd as a platoon player, he feels that the veteran outfielder could very well land a spot as an permanent fixture in his outfield.
"If you're talking about a guy who's in this camp who has a chance to make a huge difference, it might be Marlon Byrd," Collins said. "This guy was one of the best players in the National League not too long ago. If he's the same player he was in Chicago, we may have found ourselves a right fielder."