Marlon Byrd is holding himself accountable.
Byrd, who signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies this offseason, was suspended for 50 games in 2012 for testing positive for the banned substance Tamoxifen. The 36-year-old expressed regret soon after the suspension was handed down, and he’s still willing to discuss the “mistake” with great candor.
“Guys that don’t like talking about it are the guys that were trying to beat the system. I wasn’t,” Byrd told CSNPhilly.com. “I was just stupid, I took something, didn’t do my due diligence, simple as that. So it’s easy for me to talk about. First time I talked about it was easy.
“I went to New York, talked to the guys in spring training, it was easy. Talked about it all year long, through the offseason, when I signed, up to now. It’s part of my life, it’s part of my story.”
Byrd’s story includes a strong 2013 campaign with the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates. Byrd, who was traded to Pittsburgh in a waiver wire deal at the end of August, hit .291 with 24 home runs and 88 RBIs in 147 regular season games. He’ll now bring his bat to Philadelphia, where he is expected to be the Phillies’ starting right fielder.
Byrd, who has played for seven franchises over the course of his 12-year career, said that he took Tamoxifen to reduce the excess tissue in his breasts, not for performance-enhancing purposes. The veteran outfielder understands that he’ll forever be scrutinized for his decision, though, he intends to be cooperative whenever he’s asked about the suspension.
“It happened in 2012, so you assume that guys don’t wanna ask about it,” Byrd said. “But if they do, I answer it.”