But Murphy also made an impression when he was acquired from the Boston Red Sox on July 31. He spent the final two months of the season with the Rangers and hit .340 in 43 games and 103 at-bats. Murphy has carried that success into Spring Training. Byrd has yet to do so."It's going to be tough," Byrd said. "David is making a bid to be the starter and the guy can play. They're looking to find him a way to get his 400, 500 at-bats. It's going to be a battle for all four of us." The Cubs went into Spring Training with Pie competing for the center-field spot while being flanked by Alfonso Soriano in left and Kosuke Fukudome in right. Murton, who hit .281 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs in 235 at-bats last year, is in reserve. Pie has been sidelined with a groin injury for the past week but is expected to be ready for Opening Day. He is likely to win the job. Cubs manager Lou Piniella is confident Pie will be ready to start.
"As long as he's fine, and there's no reason to assume he won't be," Piniella said Friday. "With what we have in camp, he'll be our center fielder."Pie is a left-handed hitter who was 4-for-36 off left-handed pitching last year, which is why the Cubs have interest in a right-handed-hitting center fielder. The Rangers and the Cubs have had ongoing communication since the offseason and Byrd is aware of it. "It's still on my mind," Byrd said. "Until somebody comes up to me and tells me that it's dead, it's still on my mind. If something comes up that makes sense and helps the team, I'm sure that [Daniels] will pull the trigger. He knows what he's doing. But if it doesn't help the Rangers, I'm sure he won't do it." Byrd just needs to hit. The manager is expecting it and confident it will happen.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.