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Byrd faces former club in Saturday start

Byrd faces former club in Saturday's start

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Even at 35, Paul Byrd always finds something to learn about the game of baseball.

When the Indians were in Baltimore earlier this week, Byrd, who will start Saturday's game against the Royals, struck up a conversation with ESPN analyst, former Indians pitcher and 1988 World Series MVP Orel Hershiser.

"I wanted to talk with him about his sinker," Byrd said. "I only throw it probably one percent of the time, and I'd like to work it in more often."

Byrd makes it a point to seek out players he admires to get their insights into the game. He's done so with Hershiser, Brooks Robinson and George Brett, among others.

"In five minutes with [Brett], I learned so much about timing and throwing hitters off," Byrd said. "The same with Hershiser."

It doesn't matter how many years a big-league pitcher has under his belt. There's always some knowledge to be gained.

"As soon as you think you have it figured out, you're proven wrong," Byrd said. "So I talk to everybody."

Pitching matchup
CLE: RHP Paul Byrd (2-1, 7.02 ERA)
In his last start against the Tigers on Monday, Indians fans finally got a glimpse of the Paul Byrd they expected when he was signed to a free-agent contract this offseason. Byrd, staked to an early lead, pitched seven strong innings in picking up his second win. The key, as it always is with Byrd, was location, location, location. Against the Tigers on Monday he had it. On Saturday, he'll be facing a Royals team that has struggled in the early going and against whom he was 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA in three starts last year as a member of the Angels.

KC: RHP Joe Mays (0-2, 11.68 ERA)
Mays knows he has to stay away from first-inning trouble. But he just can't. He's given up 11 runs in the first inning of his three starts -- three to the Tigers, three to the Yankees and five to the White Sox. Yet he seemed to be in a groove after the first inning in his last start and manager Buddy Bell let him work at it for 5 1/3 innings before yanking him in Chicago.

Player to watch
Ben Broussard has had a lot of success against Mays in the past, and he'll probably be itching for a start in a stretch in which the Indians are facing seven left-handed starters in the 10-game trip. Broussard has gone 6-for-13 with four doubles and a walk in his career against Mays.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• SportsTime Ohio

On radio
• WTAM 1100

Up next
• Sunday: Indians (RHP Jason Johnson, 2-0, 1.83 ERA) at Royals (LHP Jeremy Affeldt, 0-2, 8.10 ERA), 2:10 p.m. ET
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Indians (RHP Jake Westbrook, 2-2, 5.92 ERA) vs. Red Sox (RHP Curt Schilling, 4-0, 1.61 ERA), 7:05 p.m. ET

Anthony Castrovince 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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