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07/18/08 11:14 PM ET
Byrnes uncertain if return is realistic
D-backs outfielder admits he rushed his way back from DL
By Mike Ritter / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Eric Byrnes was back in the Diamondbacks' clubhouse for the first time since straining his left hamstring June 30. Byrnes has been in the Bay Area seeing different doctors and going through medical tests. He opted not to have surgery, carefully weighing his options, but there is still no timetable for his return. When asked whether he could return this season, Byrnes said: "Potentially, I could. I don't want to get my hopes up too soon. It's obviously something that I'm going to be real cautious with. I'd like to think that there's a possibility that I could come back this year. It's too hard to tell. It's been a rough ride." Byrnes admitted he hasn't been healthy since last season. He tore both hamstrings and was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 26. He came back on June 23 for six games but strained his left hamstring again while attempting to steal third base. On Friday, Byrnes admitted he rushed his return and was not completely healthy. "Everything was rushed," he said. "It was my fault. I rushed it and I told them I was ready and I thought I was, but at the same time I still knew something was there." Byrnes had a second MRI last week, and that's when he decided not to have the surgery. Byrnes said the MRI showed that not much had changed and the hamstring had not gotten any worse. "It was tough because it was right on the threshold," Byrnes said. "It seemed like half the doctors wanted to perform surgery and the other half wouldn't. To give me that option, it's a no-brainer for me. I believe I could rehab it and get it back to the point where its 100 percent. "I understood that if I had the surgery I could rehab it and then come back, but what would I come back as? I made it clear to them that it was really important to my game to be able to be as explosive as I can." Byrnes has started a light rehabilitation program, doing light lifting with his legs. "I'm not going to come back until I'm 100 percent, but I'd like to think that it's possible. I'll use all the different resources that I have," Byrnes said. "I'd be foolish to say it's not going to happen, because it could happen, I just don't know how my leg is going to respond as we get into it."
Mike Ritter is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.