BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox acquired center fielder Marlon Byrd from the Chicago Cubs on Saturday in an attempt to shore up their injury-plagued outfield and reverse an early season slide.
With Jacoby Ellsbury sidelined by a partially dislocated right shoulder and Carl Crawford rehabbing a left elbow injury, the Red Sox took Byrd off Chicago’s hands in exchange for reliever Michael Bowden and a player to be named. The Cubs will pay part of Byrd’s salary, which is $6.5 million this year.
“Marlon took it as you would expect,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “He was really professional about it. … I think he’s excited to have the opportunity in Boston.”
The trade was rumored throughout the day and announced after Boston’s 15-9 loss to the New York Yankees, a game in which the Red Sox opened a 9-0 lead but gave up back-to-back seven-run innings. It was their fifth consecutive loss, and their 30th in 41 games dating to Sept. 1, 2011.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said after the game he would consider everything to reverse the slide, and Byrd is unlikely to be Boston’s last move.
In an 11-year career with the Phillies, Nationals, Rangers and Cubs, Byrd has a .278 average with 81 homers, 438 RBIs and 49 stolen bases. The 34-year-old Byrd made the NL All-Star team in 2010 and hit .276 in 119 games last season.
But he has just three hits in 43 at-bats in 2012.
“I think he’s going to be successful there,” Hoyer said. “His slow start is unusual for him and I think he is going to heat up here soon.”
The 25-year-old Bowden made Boston’s opening-day roster and had a 3.00 ERA in two relief appearances before he was designated for assignment last Sunday.
To make room for Byrd on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox designated utilityman Nate Spears for assignment. The 26-year-old Spears has appeared in four games with the Red Sox this year, going 0 for 4.