Marlon Byrd to begin rehab assignment and wear specially designed helmet

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Marlon Byrd has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment five weeks after suffering facial fractures from a beaning and the Cubs center fielder showed Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune the special protective helmet he’ll wear.

As for how long he’ll wear it, Byrd told Sullivan that he’s not sure yet:

I might try one game without it, but it’s something I can wear all year long. Maybe it’ll take that thought process out of my mind, when I’m on the infield, trying to steal a base or breaking up a double play.

Byrd will play his first rehab game at Triple-A tonight and barring a setback is slated to come off the disabled list on July 4.

Report: Momentum in talks between Mariners, Jon Jay

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that there is some momentum in talks between the Mariners and free agent outfielder Jon Jay.

Jay, 32, hit .296/.374/.375 in 433 plate appearances with the Cubs last season, which is adequate. He’s heralded more for his defense and his ability to play all three outfield spots.

The Mariners are losing center fielder Jarrod Dyson to free agency and likely don’t want to rely on Guillermo Heredia next season, hence the interest in Jay. The free agent class for center fielders is otherwise relatively weak.