Acquired in a trade Saturday for Michael Bowden and a player to be named later, the former Cubs outfielder is eagerly awaiting the chance to contribute to the Red Sox and end a streak of October days at home.
"I went through a building mode in Philly, a rebuilding mode in Washington, a rebuilding mode in Texas," Byrd said. "Philly ended up winning. Texas is winning. And then Chicago, I came there with the thought of winning, and it just didn’t work out. To come over to a team that is ready to win, it's a great feeling. I haven't been to the playoffs. That's one of my goals — to get to the playoffs this year."
If Sunday's game against the Yankees hadn't been postponed, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine confirmed that Byrd would have started in center field despite Byrd's early struggles this season. In 13 games this year, Byrd, 34, has experienced a power outage.
He's hitting only .070 with two RBIs and no homers, numbers well short of the total he posted as an All-Star in 2010. Always the optimist, Valentine found a silver lining in Byrd's slow start.
"Right-handed hitter who isn’t hitting right now, which is the good news," Valentine said. "That means he saved us all his hits for us."
Byrd is noticing progress, however. During his last game for the Cubs on April 20, he expressed satisfaction with his three at-bats, including one hit that was robbed by Cincinnati's Jay Bruce.
Aside from offense, Byrd wants to provide other assets to the Red Sox as he fills in for Jacoby Ellsbury.
"While I am over here, I'm going to make sure I do everything I can, bring my energy, play hard, play my defense, hopefully get some big hits and just get this team back on the right track," he said.
The last time Byrd took the field at Fenway Park, it wasn't a fond memory. On May 21, 2011, Byrd was plunked in the face by Red Sox reliever Alfredo Aceves and landed on the disabled list for six weeks.
It ignited a beaning war between the Cubs and Red Sox. Nearly a year later, Byrd doesn't hold any hostility toward Aceves.
"He sent over his apologies last year when it happened right away," Byrd said. "Also sent them to the clubhouse, sent them to the hospital. And I accepted. We haven't talked yet, but there’s nothing to talk about. It wasn't anything malicious. He wasn't trying to hit me. With [Jason] Varitek, I know he likes going in, up high with two strikes. Ball just slipped out. I didn't get out of the way. It's just one of those things. We're teammates now."
With his new cast of teammates, Byrd now has his sights set on the postseason.