The Cubs will open the season with a full roster, much to the dismay of Theo Epstein after his plan to ditch Marlon Byrd in the Arizona desert last weekend was thwarted when the outfielder hitchhiked back to Chicago in time for Thursday’s game against the Nationals.

“I don’t know how he did it,” said Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations. “We figured he’d at the very least get the hint after we sent him into a Mesa convenience store for beer and drove off without him, but man, this guy just refuses to quit.”

Bruised and battered, Byrd arrived at Wrigley Field shortly after daybreak Thursday morning. He didn’t get into specifics of his journey but offered only a few clues as to what he dealt with.

“Nothing’s going to keep me from being on the Opening Day roster,” said Byrd. “Not rattlesnakes in Arizona, tornadoes in Texas, floods in Kansas and sure as hell not some pencil-necked geek in the Cubs front office.”