Sports

Red Sox acquire Kentuckian Byrd from Indians

BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox acquired pitcher Paul Byrd from Cleveland on Tuesday, hoping to boost a rotation hurt by an injury to Tim Wakefield and the struggles of Clay Buchholz.

The Red Sox will send either a player to be named or cash to the Indians.

The 37-year-old Byrd, from St. Xavier High School in Louisville, Ky., is 7-10 with a 4.53 ERA in his 14th season. But since the All-Star break he has won all four of his starts and has a 1.24 ERA.

Boston began play Tuesday in second place in the American League East, four games behind Tampa Bay. The Red Sox were two games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the wild-card race.

”Give me a few minutes before I talk,“ Byrd said as he packed up in the Indians clubhouse. ”I'm not lucid right now. I'm saying funny things. Give me a half-hour and I'll talk.“

Byrd was in Cleveland before Tuesday's game against Baltimore when the trade was announced.

Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka have had strong seasons for the defending World Series champion Red Sox, but Wakefield is on the disabled list with a stiff right shoulder and Buchholz is 0-6 with an 8.19 ERA in his last eight starts.

The Red Sox called up knuckleballer Charlie Zink from Triple-A Pawtucket to make his major-league debut Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers.

Byrd was at Fenway Park for Game 7 of last year's AL championship series on the day the San Francisco Chronicle reported he had used human growth hormone from 2002-2005. He then said before the game that he had used HGH for a medical condition but that he never injected the banned drug without a doctor's prescription.

”I have nothing to hide,“ Byrd said about two hours before Game 7, in which Boston clinched the ALCS with its third straight win. ”Everything has been done out in the open. I have a reputation. I do not want the fans of Cleveland or honest, caring people to think that I cheated.

”Because I didn't.“

He said in spring training that he met with baseball officials on Dec. 17 in New York but gave no details. He also said the off-season was ”stressful.“

Byrd went 15-8 with a 4.59 ERA in 31 starts last season, his most wins since 2002 with Kansas City. He won both his starts in the playoffs — in Game 4 of the AL division series against the New York Yankees and in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Red Sox.

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