Marlon Byrd placed on disabled list

Updated: May 23, 2011, 12:17 AM ET
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com

BOSTON -- Chicago Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd, who was hit in the head by a pitch on Saturday, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with facial fractures on Sunday.

Right-handed pitcher Justin Berg was recalled from Triple-A Iowa and took Byrd's spot on the 25-man roster for Sunday night's finale against the Boston Red Sox.

The Cubs said Byrd was released from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary on Sunday afternoon and would fly home with the team. Byrd is scheduled to see a specialist in Chicago this week.

"As long as I can see and I have no brain damage, I'm blessed," Byrd said after the Red Sox defeated the Cubs at Fenway Park on Sunday.

On Saturday, a fastball from Red Sox starter Alfredo Aceves hit Byrd under the left eye in the second inning.

After getting hit by the pitch, Byrd lay on the field for several seconds before getting up and exiting with the Cubs trainers. Byrd never lost consciousness, but had a several-inch gash under his eye that had to be stitched and extreme swelling.

"I've tried to call him twice," Aceves said. "They didn't answer in the clubhouse. I'm trying to call him to let him know I'm sorry. I said yesterday there's nothing you can do about walks and hit by pitches. It's not intentional. I'm not like that."

Byrd doesn't begrudge Aceves for the lapse command of his pitches.

"I haven't talked to him, but I know it wasn't intentional," Byrd said. "That's a part of the game. [Aceves is] 6-feet-6-inches, it doesn't always go where you want it to."

Byrd said there was no time table for his return right now. Doctors will determine his treatment as well as his road back to playing baseball this week.

First baseman Carlos Pena, who visited Byrd in the hospital after Saturday night's game, said his teammate was sitting up in bed, with two pizzas on his lap.

"He's doing well. He's a tough kid," Pena said. "Thank God. I'm so relieved to see him conscious.

"When you see an injury like that, hits you in the face, a fastball -- you want to be optimistic," Pena said. "When he was walking off the field, he said, 'I can't see. My left eye.' ... It was scary. When you hear a crowd make a certain noise. It's something you can't explain. You fear the worse for your friend."

Byrd is batting .308 (53-for-172) with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 44 games this season.

Pena said Red Sox players -- including David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and Jed Lowrie -- asked about Byrd when they reached first base later in the game.

"It was scary," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "I don't care what uniform you're in. it makes you nervous."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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