PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Outfielder Marlon Byrd arrived to camp with one focus after signing a Minor League contract with the Mets a month ago: make the team.
So far the 35-year-old has given manager Terry Collins reason to believe he should. Following Saturday's action, he is hitting .400 (8-for-20) with three doubles and three RBIs through eight games.
"I think every year you have to prove yourself -- it doesn't matter who you are," said Byrd, who is trying to make his sixth big league team. "I have to prove I belong on this team. That was my whole goal, and my plan going here."
Collins inserted Byrd into the leadoff spot for the first time this spring during Saturday afternoon's game against the Astros. He started in right field.
In 2012, the 11-year veteran's season prematurely came to an end after just 47 games with the Cubs and Red Sox when he received a 50-game suspension, testing positive for Tamoxifen. Byrd had said it was a result of medication he was taking for a years-old condition that is unrelated to baseball and recurred during the offseason.
With a group of young outfielders that includes Matt den Dekker, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Cowgill, Byrd offers an experienced presence. He can also play all three outfield positions.
"Whatever they want me to do, I'm here to help this team win," Byrd said. "Wherever I fit in that's the way I want Terry to use me. If I was stuck in one position it would make it a little bit tougher to make this team, but being able to play all three helps."
Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.