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Late-season additions receptive to returning to Pirates next year

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates outfielder Marlon Byrd flashes the Zoltan sign to the dugout after hitting a double during the sixth inning against the Cardinals on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, in Game 3 of the National League Division Series at PNC Park.

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Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, 10:33 p.m.

Marlon Byrd played 12 seasons in the major leagues before getting his first taste of the postseason, and in the aftermath of the Pirates' Game 5 loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday, the outfielder said it had been a great ride.

“Not the end that we wanted, of course, but I enjoyed it,” Byrd said. “Been to the playoffs, helping this team win, the fans, this whole organization — they should be very proud.”

Byrd and first baseman Justin Morneau were late-season acquisitions picked up to help the Pirates down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Both are free agents in 2014, and both said Wednesday night they're open to the possibility of rejoining the Pirates next season.

“There's always interest, of course,” said Morneau, who spent 11 seasons with the Twins.

“The opportunity to win is all you can ask for in this game. They gave me that, and I could see this team being good for a long time. There's a lot of things you look at and say, ‘I'd like to be a part of that.' There's no reason to say that can't happen.”

Said Byrd, who has also expressed interest in returning to the Mets, “I enjoyed it. I had a blast. Great front office, great staff, great fans, great group of guys. I would love to be a part of this moving forward because it's something special.”

Byrd batted .364 in six playoff games, the highest average on the team in the postseason, and was 6 for 18 in the National League Division Series. Byrd's postseason numbers included two doubles, one home run, four runs, five RBI and six strikeouts.

He hit .318 (34 for 107) in 30 regular-season games with the Pirates with nine doubles, three home runs and 17 RBI.

Morneau was just behind Byrd with a .300 average (6 for 20) in the NLDS, and he hit .292 overall in the postseason with one double and no RBI.

In 25 regular-season games with the Pirates, he hit .260 (20 for 77) with four doubles, no homers and three RBI. He walked 13 times and struck out 12.

The pair combined for three hits, four runs and one RBI in the Pirates' 7-1 Game 2 win and three hits, two runs and two RBI in their 5-3 win in Game 3 against the Cardinals.

Byrd, 36, made $700,000 this season after pulling in $6.5 million with the Cubs in 2012.

He was traded to the Red Sox late last season.

Morneau, 32, made $14 million in salary this season, of which the Pirates were responsible for approximately $2 million.

He had to OK the trade to the Pirates on Aug. 31.

“The people in here have a lot to be proud of,” Morneau said Wednesday. “This is a good organization, a lot of young talent and young pitching, which you need to sustain that success. There's no reason why this team can't do this next year and build on this and be even better coming back.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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