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Paul Byrd

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Paul Gregory Byrd

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[edit] Biographical Information

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Paul Byrd was a starting pitcher fora number of teams over a 14-year career, finishing with the Boston Red Sox. Byrd had an old-fashioned overhand delivery, and worked slowly. Though never dominating, he proved to be a solid pitcher who could be counted on to "eat innings." Byrd threw a fastball in the low 90s, along with a slider, change-up and a sinker that he threw to left-handed hitters.

Byrd graduated from St. Xavier High School in Louisville, KY and was selected in the 13th round (332nd overall) of the 1988 amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds. He did not sign, instead attending Louisiana State University where he pitched as part of the Tigers baseball team that won the 1991 College World Series. In the 1990 Baseball World Cup, Byrd was 1-0 with a 5.11 ERA for Team USA. He was drafted again in the 4th round of the 1991 amateur draft by the Cleveland Indians. Byrd spent 5 years in the minor leagues before being traded to the New York Mets and making his major league debut on July 28, 1995.

He pitched out of the bullpen for two years until becoming a starter in 1998 for the AAA Richmond Braves. Near the end of the season he was selected off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies. In 8 starts, he posted a 5-2 record with a 2.29 ERA. Byrd followed that up with an All-Star season in 1999, with a 15-11 record in 199 2/3 innings. Byrd only pitched in 17 games in 2000, finishing with a 2-9 record and a 6.51 ERA.

In 2001 he continued to pitch poorly, and was traded to the Kansas City Royals for forgettable reliever Jose Santiago. Byrd got his act together with his new team, with a 4.05 ERA in 17 games (15 starts) with a 6-6 record. Byrd re-signed with the Royals, posting would-be All-Star numbers in 2002: 17-11 record, 3.90 ERA in 228 1/3 innings. That year he also threw a league-leading 7 complete games with 2 shutouts.

In 2003, he blew out his elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery on July 1. In the off-season he had been signed by the Atlanta Braves for two years and $10 million. Byrd missed the entire season except for one start for the AA Greenville Braves. Byrd returned to the Braves in 2004, and in 19 starts he put up similar numbers to his 2002 season.

In the off-season, the Anaheim Angels signed him to a one-year $5 million contract, following the trade of right-handed pitcher Ramon Ortiz to the Cincinnati Reds. Byrd went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA in 205 innings with the Angels in 2005. He was second in the AL with 21 quality starts.

After the season, Paul Byrd signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Indians, and joined their starting rotation. He made 31 starts in both 2006 and 2007, going 10-9 the first year and 15-8 the second, with ERA's in the upper 4.00's, slightly worse than the league average. He gave up the fewest bases on balls per 9 innings of any American League starting pitcher in 2007. His 2 shutouts were also the most in the league.

On October 21, 2007, Byrd admitted to using Human Growth Hormone (HGH) from 2002-2005, saying he had a doctor's permission due to a pituitary gland condition. Byrd said he stopped buying HGH when it was banned by Major League Baseball in 2005. He split the 2008 season between Cleveland (he was 7-10m in 22 starts) and the Boston Red Sox (4-2 in 8 starts). He did not have any offers to pitch early in 2009, but the Red Sox brought him back in August as they dealt with injuries and he closed out his career going 1-3 in 7 games with Boston.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • NL All-Star (1999)
  • AL Complete Games Leader (2002)
  • AL Shutouts Leader (2007)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 3 (1999, 2002 & 2007)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (2002 & 2005)

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