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Byrd lands in unlikely spot

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- At some point during batting practice Wednesday at Angel Stadium, Red Sox right-hander Paul Byrd was roaming the outfield, shagging fly balls. Manager Terry Francona approached him and delivered the good news that he had made Boston's roster for the American League Division Series against Anaheim.

Byrd was chosen over reliever Manny Delcarmen for the final pitching spot.

Delcarmen was in a minor car accident over the weekend. Before the game, and before Delcarmen had been told he would be left off the roster, he said he had a good throwing session Tuesday and felt good, not really suffering any aftereffects from the accident.

But Francona chose to play it safe. "Hopefully there'll be a time when we're playing and we can have Manny back," Francona said. "But more at full strength."

For the 38-year-old Byrd, who signed with the Red Sox in early August, having been to that point content with staying home in Atlanta and coaching his two sons, it's been a satisfying journey back to the big leagues.

"For me my whole goal was to come back healthy," Byrd said. "I'm playing for all the right reasons. I want a ring, I want to help the team, and that's it."

Byrd said he'll do whatever is asked, whether it's eating innings, coming into a tie game with runners on, or being the last man standing in the bullpen. Byrd, who was 1-3 with a 5.82 ERA in seven starts, said he felt his lone bad outing came in Chicago on Sept. 4, when he gave up 10 hits and seven runs in just 2 1/3 innings. Byrd said he feels healthy and that he's throwing the ball well.

Francona said Byrd's inclusion on the roster will allow the team to cover if there's a bad game by a starter, an injury or a bullpen-blowing extra-innings game.

Byrd last pitched Saturday as a reliever, throwing three innings. He said as a reliever, he won't throw side sessions; he'll mostly just play catch. If for some reason he goes too long without throwing, he may throw a bullpen session.

Byrd's just happy to have the chance.

"I'm just having fun," he said. "I really wasn't sweating the decision. I'm just so fortunate to be back and even be in this situation to be considered."

Then Byrd joked that if there were an award for least likely to be named to a postseason roster, he'd qualify.

"I may be the comeback postseason roster player of the year," he quipped. "Is there a vote for that?"

Varitek on hold

Catcher Jason Varitek, who first played in a postseason game back in 1998, when he was 26, may not get a start. When asked if he would be catching any of the starters, Varitek said he did not know.

It's an adjustment for Varitek, who's played in 63 postseason games for Boston and has appeared at catcher for all but one (when he pinch hit).

"You can't control your playing time, but you can control the other parts you contribute," said Varitek, who hit .209 this season and just .157 since the All-Star break. "It's not the time of year to be selfish."

When asked how he was handling the transition, he said, "It's different, it's definitely different. It's all new for me, too."

Baldelli off roster

The Red Sox decided on Thursday to leave Rocco Baldelli (strained hip flexor) off the ALDS roster. With Baldelli off the roster, Brian Anderson and Joey Gathright are the reserve outfielders. … Some of the team listened to Tuesday night's Twins-Tigers game on the radio on the bus ride to the hotel. Anderson, who caught the final out last year in a one-game play-in while with the White Sox, eliminating Minnesota, said it was crazy to see it play out a year later, in the same division.