SEATTLE -- The legend is Yankees first baseman Wally Pipp took one day off because of a headache, and he was replaced by a rookie. Some 2,130 games later, Lou Gehrig was still the Yankees' first baseman and Wally Pipp had become one of the most famous footnotes in Major League history. The story has probably been embellished over the past 80 years, but the nickname has endured. Rangers outfielder Marlon Byrd has joined that exclusive but undesired fraternity. "We've been calling him Wally Pipp," Rangers manager Ron Washington joked before Monday's game with the Mariners at Safeco Field.
Byrd is on the disabled list with a bone bruise in his left knee and is hoping to begin a medical rehabilitation assignment on Saturday with Triple-A Oklahoma. In the meantime, Brandon Boggs has suddenly become an everyday player for the Rangers. Boggs was in the lineup for the sixth straight game on Sunday. He was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma last Tuesday, had a pinch-hit single in his first Major League at-bat and literally hasn't been out of a game at any point since then. "It has been fun coming in here and playing every day," said Boggs, who was hitting .400 (8-for-20) after his first six games. "It's a great feeling to know that I'm going to be in there every day." Byrd used to know that feeling but started the season by hitting .129 in his first 13 games and then went on the disabled because of his knee. Now he's trying to get healthy again while knowing that there may not be a regular job waiting for him when he does get back. Right now, the Rangers regular outfield/DH mix consists of Josh Hamilton, David Murphy, Milton Bradley and Boggs. Hamilton did get a day off on Monday with a left-hander on the mound, but that was his first of the year. Murphy has started 32 of the Rangers' first 33 games somewhere in the outfield, and Bradley has been in the lineup in 27 of 33 games. "I might have to wait and come back in September," Byrd said, half-jokingly. "Wash has to put his best team out there. If the outfield guys keep hitting, I might be the one who is spot starting. It's all about winning. If I have to come back and sit on the bench, pinch-hit or be a spot starter, that's the way it will have to be. Wash has a tough job. We need to win and I don't want to disrupt that." The Rangers are winning, and the outfield has been a big part of that, so the Rangers don't need to rush Byrd back. The knee is better but not 100 percent. "I can go out there and play 50 percent -- which I was doing -- but that's not helping the team and it's not helping me," Byrd said. "I need to come back 100 percent and play like a wild man, not at 50 percent and hobbling around." Washington isn't too concerned about having a crowded outfield when Byrd is ready to come off the disabled list. He still remembers what Byrd did for the Rangers last season. "It would be nice to have Marlon back," Washington said.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.