For the first time in his career, Marlon Byrd decided he needed to play winter ball. Thirty-five years old and with 11 major-league seasons behind him, he left for Mexico in late September. The driving force, Byrd says, was not redemption for a reputation sullied by a positive drug test and subsequent ban. Nor was it to show off his wares for any teams that may have then come calling. After a difficult previous two seasons, Byrd just wanted to play baseball.