04/22/12 1:46 PM ET
Former teammates wish Byrd good luck
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
"We had a chance to get a reliever, and the Red Sox really wanted [Byrd] to play center field since they lost [Jacoby] Ellsbury," manager Dale Sveum said of the move. "I think for both [teams] it's good. He'll go to another great city and have some fun. I'm sure they'll start playing better than they are now.
"[Byrd] didn't get off to the start he wanted to, but he played great center field for us and plays hard. He's a great example for everybody. It's a great opportunity for him and a chance for us to get a young reliever to help us out."
The Cubs sent Byrd and cash considerations to the Red Sox in exchange for reliever Michael Bowden, who was designated for assignment April 15, and a player to be named later. That player was expected to be a pitcher.
"We'll miss Marlon," Johnson said. "He plays the game the right way, he plays hard. It's a good example to follow. Even with his struggles this year, you watched him and he never changed the way he played the game. He played hard, was still making plays defensively. Grounding out or flying out, he was always hustling down to first or standing on second base when that guy was catching the fly ball. Teammates have a lot of respect for him for the way he played the game.
"There was always that thought that he was going to turn things around, and he would've at some point."
Sveum pointed out that a lot of players struggle at the beginning of the season, including Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg.
"For an everyday player like Marlon who has had a history of succeeding, you don't panic about it," Sveum said. "We needed Marlon to get going, and the only way you get going is by playing."
Byrd joins the team that nearly ended his career. Last May, he was hit in the face by a pitch from the Red Sox reliever Alfredo Aceves and suffered multiple facial fractures. Byrd returned and finished with a .276 average in 119 games. Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster said that if that incident still bothered Byrd, he never showed it.
"He was a pro's pro," Dempster said. "He came every day and played as hard as he could. He was as prepared as anybody. We'll miss that around here. He's getting an opportunity to go there and play. Obviously they had a need. I enjoyed every moment as a teammate and as a friend and wish him nothing but the best."
Jackson close, but not ready for Majors yet
CHICAGO -- Brett Jackson is close to being Major League ready, but he still needs time to develop in the Minor Leagues, manager Dale Sveum said.
With the Cubs trading Marlon Byrd to the Red Sox, there naturally is speculation that Jackson, Chicago's No. 1 pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, would get called up. Not yet, Sveum said.
"It's just the plan we want to stick with and develop him," Sveum said Sunday. "He still needs to develop. He's still striking out a little too much. He needs to be more conscious and a little bit better in that situation. If you're striking out that much in Triple-A, it'll be that much more against big league pitching.
"Until you get those 500 at-bats at Triple-A, it's something the organization and Theo [Epstein] want to impress on our young guys, is [that] 'You'll stay and play and develop.'"
Epstein, the Cubs' president of baseball operations, has made it clear he wants young players to get their work in the Minor Leagues. Jackson began this season with 1,133 total Minor League at-bats, including 185 at Triple-A Iowa.
"I think sometimes we rush kids too quick and it's not for anybody's benefit," Sveum said. "We've all been part of when kids have been rushed and they've done really well, but it doesn't happen very often."
In 16 games this year with Iowa, Jackson, 23, was batting .254 with a team-leading 21 strikeouts.
Dempster unsure when quad injury occurred
CHICAGO -- Ryan Dempster isn't exactly sure when he hurt his right leg, but the Cubs are taking a precautionary approach with the right-hander, who was placed on the disabled list Saturday, retroactive to April 18.
Dempster started last Monday in Miami, and during his bullpen session two days later, he felt some discomfort.
"It was tight and I threw a pitch and it grabbed on me, and I felt it go a little bit," Dempster said. "Maybe I did something during the game, but when you're out there pitching and the adrenaline is going, you don't feel anything. The next day, it was a little tight and I tried to throw my bullpen and it didn't go too well."
Dempster's expected to miss only two starts because of the strained right quad. Randy Wells was called up from Triple-A Iowa on Sunday to take Dempster's spot in the series finale against the Reds. Wells was 1-0 with a 9.42 ERA in three starts with the Minor League team.
New Cubs pitcher Michael Bowden was expected to join the team Monday and will likely be put to work quickly.
The Cubs acquired Bowden on Saturday night from the Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Marlon Byrd. Bowden had been designated for assignment on April 15 after appearing in two games with Boston. In Spring Training, Bowden appeared in nine games and struck out 10 over 11 innings, compiling a 2.45 ERA.
"It's just a matter of getting him some pitching and activated," Sveum said. "I know he's been throwing here. He's from here. He's been throwing some side [sessions]. He hasn't missed that much [time]."
Sveum is keeping a close eye on the NHL playoffs between the Blackhawks and Coyotes. His son was at Game 5 on Saturday night in Arizona. Ryan Dempster is a huge hockey fan and was cheering on the Blackhawks, who won in overtime and trail the series, 3-2.
"They just have to win the next game, that's it," Dempster said. "One at a time."
Dempster watched the highlights of White Sox pitcher Philip Humber's perfect game.
"I always laugh at how a guy gets a no-hitter or a perfect game going and nobody talks to him [in the dugout], so he starts to go, 'Why is nobody talking to me? Oh, wait, I must have something going here,'" Dempster said. "It was pretty impressive. I know he's always had the talent to do something like that."
So if Dempster ever gets close, does he want players to talk to him?
"When I go out there for the ninth inning, I want somebody to say, 'Hey, you've got a perfect game going,'" he said. "I could only be so lucky."
Sveum watched the end of the game on television. He came close to playing in one, but said Rangers manager Ron Washington broke it up with a hit after 8 2/3 innings.
"I remember when David Cone threw his, it was only 88 pitches, and to throw a perfect game and end up with 96 [pitches], that's a pretty efficient day," Sveum said. "To finish it off in the last inning on a 3-2 slider on the first hitter and have enough savvy to throw another 3-2 slider with a perfect game on the line was pretty impressive, and it ended up working out. I'm happy for him."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.