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09/23/08 7:42 PM ET
Byrd wants to see more intensity
Outfielder says Rangers need same effort from everyone
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Marlon Byrd thought he had checked his swing. Home-plate umpire Bill Hohn disagreed and said Byrd went around. In the resulting discussion, Byrd ended up getting thrown out of the game on Monday night. "I said, 'Bill, how about you check that,'" Byrd said. "He said, 'Marlon, not another word.' I said, 'Bill, how about you check it?' Then he threw me out. All I asked is for him to check it." Byrd was thrown out and the Rangers went on to lose, 4-3, in 11 innings to the Athletics. The loss dropped the Rangers into third place and was their seventh loss in their last nine games. The Rangers' season is slipping away and Byrd is frustrated, not just with umpires but how things in general are going. He is playing on a painfully sore left knee, but going into Tuesday's game, was hitting .358 with four home runs and 26 RBIs over his last 43 games. When the game is over, his limp is noticeable as he walks through the clubhouse with a big icepack attached to it. "You go out there and see Michael Young playing with a broken finger, and I'm going to go out there too," Byrd said. "I want to see the same effort from everybody else. I know guys are going 100 percent, but sometimes it doesn't feel like it. I come back in from the losses, and it really bugs me. "The knee is sore. It hurts every day. But I know the team needs me out there. They need my presence in the lineup. It helps the lineup. I don't want to sit and watch games. I did that at the first of the year [when he was on the disabled list] and it wasn't fun. I want to finish up strong. There's no complaining, and there are no excuses." Byrd wants to see the same attitude in his teammates. But it's not always there. "No, not all the time, and that's really bothering me" Byrd said. "I believe our intensity could be a lot stronger. It might be because we're out of it and it's the end of the season. Guys are eager to go home. I'd like to see the intensity we had for the first six months of the season." Byrd grew up in the Phillies' organization. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins remain close friends, and Byrd talks to them regularly. "They're battling the Mets, and it looks like fun," Byrd said. "I'd like to be a part of something like that. A lot of guys in here would like to be a part of it." Instead, the Rangers are assured of their eighth losing season in the last nine years because of their struggles, and Byrd is struggling to deal with it. "I don't like it," Byrd said. "I haven't been sleeping much at nights. I know we're a better team than this."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.