Red Sox to designate Marlon Byrd for assignment

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Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that the Red Sox will designate outfielder Marlon Byrd for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will make his first major league start since Tommy John surgery this afternoon against the Nationals. Byrd was informed of the decision following last night’s game.

Byrd was acquired from the Cubs for Michael Bowden and Hunter Cervenka after Jacoby Ellsbury went down with a subluxed right shoulder in April. The 34-year-old began his Red Sox tenure with a six-game hitting streak, but his production tailed off from there and his playing time has suffered recently due to the emergence of Daniel Nava and Scott Podsednik and the return of Darnell McDonald.

Byrd batted .270/.286/.320 with one homer, two doubles and a .606 OPS over 105 plate appearances with Boston and is hitting just .210/.243/.245 overall this season. The Cubs are still on the hook for all but $400,000 of his $6.5 million salary for 2012.