Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd was struck on the side of the head by an Alfredo Aceves pitch in the second inning of Saturday’s game against the Red Sox.
The Aceves breaking ball rose quickly on Byrd, who attempted to dip his head back at the last second. That motion exposed his left eye from the protective flap and brim of his batting helmet, and he took the pitch square without any sort of ricochet.
Byrd was able to walk off the field under his own power, but a trainer was covering the left side of his face with a towel and blood was spotted by the FOX cameras. He at least suffered a cut, and possibly something much more serious. It was his first at-bat of the game.
Carrie Muskat of MLB.com says that Byrd is being taken to a local hospital for evaluation. He never lost consciousness but has a gash under his left eye. There should be updates throughout the night.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.