07/17/2007 9:26 AM ET
Byrd: Taking flight with Texas
"Having played for three different teams the past three years, I would love to find a more permanent home here in Texas," says Marlon Byrd. (David Kohl/AP)
I started the season in the Minors, but it was easy to stay positive. Even though I had played in the big leagues since 2002, I had a great group of coaches and teammates in Oklahoma City. The team there has good fans, good people. It's a great place to be and I was having fun.
Texas gave me the opportunity to make the team out of Spring Training and it just didn't happen for me then. I kept working hard to get the call that I got in late May.
Not every player with the big-league experience I have goes down with that same attitude. For me, I got designated for assignment. After sitting around for a few days at home while everybody else was playing baseball, when I did show up to the park, I showed up with a big smile. I was mentally prepared for the challenge and I was just glad to be back on a baseball field.
To me, playing baseball is the greatest job in the world. Of course I wanted to be playing in the big leagues, but there are a lot worse things in life than playing ball at the Triple-A level.
Since coming up here, I've spent a lot of time with our hitting coach, Rudy Jaramillo. He's simplified things for me. He notices what I'm doing wrong and he fixes them right away. With Rudy's help, I've done a better job identifying the right thing to do at the plate and noticing and adjusting when I go off track. This approach has helped me get things together and he's just been tremendous for me.
I've played on some different teams and I have experience with a number of hitting coaches. To me, what makes a good hitting coach is someone who can see what a guy does wrong and help make it better. Once you get to the Triple-A level or the big-league level, a player has a real good idea what his swing is all about. I've had good hitting coaches in the past, but with Rudy, something just clicked. We mesh.
The last couple of years, my hitting has been in a funk. There are times when you feel like you lose your swing and you can't find it. Since coming here, Rudy hasn't let me lose my swing. People might not understand that a hitter can lose their swing, even at this level. Rudy has helped other guys here in Texas, like Gary Matthews Jr. and Mark DeRosa. Suddenly things seem to click and then the key is not to lose it.
Having played for three different teams the past three years, I would love to find a more permanent home here in Texas. I love playing here. I think we do have a very good team and our manager, Ron Washington, has unbelievable energy. We have a smart and young GM and we have an owner who really wants to win. With the talent we have, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
This is my first long look at the American League. I like it over here. It is a different style of baseball, but I think I've brought a bit of a National League style. I can play some small ball and I can produce as a situational hitter. I believe I'm meshing well here.
Marlon Byrd hit .398 with 19 RBIs in June. Overall, he is batting .369 with three homers and 10 doubles over 160 at-bats in this, his first season with Texas. Previously, the Boynton Beach, Fla., native was with the Nationals (2005-06) and the Phillies (2002-05).