After three weeks of inconsistent play and clubhouse controversy, it finally took an injury to centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to spur Boston's front office to action.

Outfielder Marlon Byrd told ESPN on Saturday evening that he has been traded from the Chicago Cubs to Boston.

With leftfielder Carl Crawford (wrist/elbow) and Ellsbury (shoulder) on the disabled list, the Red Sox are stunningly weak in the outfield. (If you watched Saturday's game against the Yankees, you saw that they are very thin in the bullpen, too).

Crawford is expected back in early May, while Ellsbury should be out until at least June. Worse, reserve outfielder Jason Repko suffered a shoulder injury in Friday's game.

How much the Sox will get from former Phillie Byrd is an open question. He is just 3 for 43 this season with two RBIs and 10 strikeouts. But that was in the NL. In his final season with the Texas Rangers, in 2009, he had 20 homers and 89 RBIs.

House afire

 World Series champion St. Louis has started defense of its title like no other National League team in 80 years.

Counting the one-game season-opening trip to Miami, the Cardinals won their first five series before heading to Pittsburgh this weekend.

According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch research, no NL team defending its World Series title had started the season with that many consecutive series wins since the New York Giants won their first six series in 1922.

The Yankees won their first five series in 2010.

History Lesson

In the first 60 years of the 20th century there were four perfect games.

In the subsequent 51-plus seasons there have been 15. (There were two perfectos in the 19th century.)

Deja vu

Nationals closer Brad Lidge walked the leadoff batter, Hanley Ramirez, in the ninth on Saturday, then Logan Morrison crushed a home run into the second deck in right to tie the game, 2-2. Lidge walked two more batters before getting out of the inning. Luckily for the ex-Phil, Ian Desmond hit a solo shot in the 10th to give the streaking Nationals (12-4) the win.

Noteworthy

Pittsburgh activated A.J. Burnett from the 15-day disabled list and sent the righthander out on Saturday night against St. Louis, in place of Kevin Correia, scratched with discomfort in his side.

The 35-year-old Burnett has been out since fracturing his right orbital bone during a bunting drill Feb. 29. He underwent surgery March 2

Arizona placed righthander Daniel Hudson on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder impingement.

Contact Don McKee at dmckee@phillynews.com.
This article contains information from the Associated Press.