Byrdak runs into old teammates
Astros reliever catches up with friends on Tigers at hotel
CHICAGO -- Tim Byrdak arrived at the team hotel with the Astros on Sunday night and was surprised to see some of his old Tigers teammates lounging in the lobby, having just checked in as well.
It's highly unusual for the White Sox and Cubs to host home games the same day, and the same usually goes for the Yankees and Mets. Normally, when one team is home, the other is on the road.
But every once in a while, a scheduling glitch forces both teams to host games at the same time. Such is the case this week in Chicago, where the Astros are playing the Cubs Monday through Wednesday and the Tigers will take on the White Sox for a three-game set on the south side beginning Tuesday.
The Tigers, who had an off-day on Monday, arrived at their hotel in Chicago around 30 minutes before the Astros.
The unusual circumstance gave Byrdak a chance to catch up with his old friends and teammates, whom he hadn't seen since the Tigers cut him in the final days of Spring Training.
"I saw a lot of old friends," Brydak said. "It was kind of nice seeing some of the guys. I told them I've been following them since the start of the season. I met a lot of guys last year, made friendships and I want to see guys succeed. Even though I couldn't be a part of it, I just want to see guys play well."
Ironically, it was Byrdak's spring appearance against the Astros that doomed him. In his final game as a Tiger, Byrdak walked four Houston batters, including two on four pitches, and gave up a single.
The Astros signed the Rice University alum to a Minor League contract three days after Opening Day, and within 2 1/2 weeks, Byrdak was called up. Over 40 games heading into Monday's opener at Wrigley, Byrdak has proven to be one of the club's most reliable relievers, compiling a 2.72 ERA over 36 1/3 innings.
Byrdak said he harbors no ill will against Tigers manager Jim Leyland and said he wouldn't mind running into his old skipper in the hotel lobby should the moment present itself.
"It worked out for the best," Byrdak said of his release from the Tigers. "I'm thrilled to be where I'm at now, being with this group of guys here. With the way things worked out, I couldn't be happier. It was nice to run into some old friends, though."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.