The New York Yankees have been dying to get an effective Greg Bird back into the everyday lineup and that opportunity is on the horizon.
First base production has been a major weakness of the New York Yankees lineup all season, but a fix could be on the way.
Greg Bird, who has been on the disabled list since May 2 due to a bone bruise on his right ankle, left for Tampa on Sunday following New York’s 9-5 win over the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium. The expectation is that he will play in one extended spring training game before joining Single-A Tampa for a rehab assignment.
Last week, the 24-year-old ran the bases, fielding ground balls, made some throws and really put his ankle to test throughout the Yankees’ nine-game homestand.
“[Bird’s] first step was quicker running the bases and he had good angles running the bases,’’ third base coach Joe Espada said via The NY Post. “He also had better direction throwing to second base and his footwork was better.’’
Before being placed on the DL, Bird went 6-for-60 this season (.100) and posted a wRC+ of 33 — good enough for dead last among major league first baseman with at least 60 plate appearances in 2017. Overall, Yankee first basemen are maintaining the worst slash line (.160/.279/.301) in the sport.
Bird, who smacked 11 home runs in 46 games back in 2015, can certainly bring those rankings up but has what will be a patient rehab assignment ahead of him. Joe Girardi and the Yankee brass certainly won’t rush him back, as a healthy Greg Bird has done wonders for the team in the past.
“I feel good and I’m getting good feedback from the coaches,’’ Bird said. “I feel it and they see it.’’