Byrd excited for book's release

"Free Byrd" to be released July 1

DETROIT -- Paul Byrd has pitched in some high-pressure situations, but nothing made him sweat quite as much as having an editor.

Over the winter, Byrd was working on his upcoming book, "Free Byrd," which will be released by Simon & Schuster on July 1, when his editor called him and told him he had two weeks to complete the final chapter.

"That," Byrd said, "was a painful process."

Byrd finished the job, and now he's ready to see the fruits of two years worth of writing labor released to the world. Before Monday's game against the Tigers, he proudly showed off an advance copy of the book that had just been sent his way.

The 37-year-old Byrd, who notched his 100th career win Friday against the Tigers, began compiling the journal entries that became the basis for his manuscript with the thought that they would be worth sharing with his sons. Eventually, a friend persuaded him to turn them into his first book.

"Free Byrd," which includes a foreword written by John Smoltz, is billed as Byrd's chronicle of his ability to maintain a Christian lifestyle despite the temptations often associated with the life of a Major League player.

Of course, the final chapter Byrd slaved over will be the one that garners the most attention. It is the chapter in which Byrd will address his use of human growth hormone and the controversy that surrounded him before Game 7 of last fall's American League Championship Series.

Byrd, who was one of 89 players named in the Mitchell Report, defended his use of HGH -- saying it was prescribed to him to treat a pituitary disorder. He met with MLB's lawyers to discuss the matter in December, and did not receive a suspension for his admitted use of the drugs.

It is not known if "Free Byrd" will have more information on Byrd's HGH use than what he discussed with reporters before Game 7.

"I want [the book] to be about my relationship with God and growing through it," Byrd said. "I want it to be a good, easy read. If it can help out a kid who is spiritual, I hope it makes a difference."

But Byrd doesn't take credit for a claim on the back of the book's jacket. It reads, "By anybody's standards, Paul Byrd is a legendary pitcher."

"That," Byrd said, "is the only non-truth in the book."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.