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Byrd to sit out start of '09 season

Byrd to sit out start of '09 season

Based primarily upon a desire to spend more time with his family, pitcher Paul Byrd has decided to sit out the start of the 2009 season.

A FOXSports.com report on Wednesday morning put an end to speculation about where the 38-year-old free-agent right-hander would end up to start the season. Byrd, a 13-year-veteran, split the 2008 season between Cleveland and Boston and was known to have received numerous offers already this offseason.

However, Byrd told FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal that the grind of a six-month season and Spring Training was too much to put on his wife and two sons for another year. The Byrd's have a home in suburban Atlanta.

"I got some really nice offers. That's what made it hard," said Byrd. "[There were some] nice offers from very competitive big-time teams that just need someone to fill in at the back end of their rotation. I also got an offer or two from small-market teams that said they wanted me to come in and be their No. 1 or [No.] 2 guy."

Byrd continued by saying that he has no desire to announce his retirement and would like the opportunity to join a contender midseason. Byrd has never been to a World Series and believes that he will be able to come back this summer to help a team toward a postseason run.

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Ideally, Byrd would like to pitch for a team close to home, making the Braves, Rays or Marlins the most appealing options.

Byrd has a career 108-93 record and a 4.38 ERA with seven teams. He combined to go 11-12 with a 4.60 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 30 American League starts last season. Eight of those wins came after the All-Star break.

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

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