New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi has handed the starting first base duties to 24-year-old Greg Bird.
Bird currently owns a .421/.500/.947 slash line with six doubles, four home runs and six RBI’s in 16 Grapefruit League games this spring. This celestial play has put to rest any concern about rust from the right labrum surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2016 campaign.
The 24-year-old was fighting it out with Chris Carter, who smacked a National League-leading 41 home runs in 2016, but we could see Bird winning the battle from a mile away if he were to make it through camp healthy and productive.
New York is certainly hoping Bird could recreate the production from his brief cameo in 2015, when he slashed .261/.343/.529 with 11 home runs in 46 games — a total of 38 when proportioned to a full season. The 31 RBI’s were additionally the second-most by a member of the Yankees who played in less than 50 games throughout his rookie campaign.
Even if he can’t match up to those heights, they’re at least hoping a healthy Greg Bird will help improve dismal play from the position a year ago, when Yankee first baseman ranked 28th in WAR, 28th in batting average and 24th in home runs.
The Yankees will open up the season against Chris Archer and the Tampa Bay Rays on April 2 at Tropicana Field.