|Byrd, Rangers avoid arbitration with 1-year contract|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 16 January 2008 14:35|
After being the last player cut by the Rangers in spring training a year ago, Byrd was recalled May 26 and hit .307 in 109 games with 10 home runs and 70 RBIs, both career highs. He became the team's primary center fielder after Kenny Lofton was traded at the end of July.
Catcher Gerald Laird is the only arbitration-eligible Texas player who hasn't agreed to a 2008 contract.
Byrd has never played a full season in the major leagues, but could get that chance this year. While the Rangers obtained center fielder Josh Hamilton from Cincinnati, Byrd is expected to move back to one of the corner outfield spots while also backing up Hamilton.
Byrd was one of the NL's top rookies in 2003, when he hit .303 in 135 games for Philadelphia. He started 2004 as the Phillies' leadoff hitter, but lost that role and wound up hitting .228 in 106 games. He broke his right ring finger in 2005, then got traded to Washington.
In 517 career games, Byrd is a .273 hitter with 30 home runs and 193 RBIs.