The New York Yankees' biggest X-factors heading into 2017 4
Sep 21, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird (31) reacts to a hit during the seventh inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a frustrating season for Greg Bird, but it could all be turning around as the New York Yankees received great news on Wednesday.

Although 2017 hasn’t worked out well for New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird, he may have just taken the next step toward a return.

Per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation, the 24-year-old was with the Single-A Staten Island Yankees this week taking batting practice and doing drills. He is hoping to undergo a rehab stint with Double-Trenton or Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre soon.

Before being placed on the disabled list on May 2 due to an ankle injury suffered in Spring Training, Bird went 6-for-60 (.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.

In an attempt to replace Bird, the Yankees turned to the failed Chris Carter experiment, Tyler Austin (who found himself back on the DL) and Ji-Man Choi. Overall, Yankee first baseman are slashing .198/.292/.380 with an OPS of .672 — the second-worst in baseball.

General manager Brian Cashman is expected to pursue a first baseman by July 31’s non-waiver trade deadline, but the return of Bird would give him the option of pursuing the rotation and bullpen needs.

If Bird comes back healthy and looks a little like the version of himself that hit 11 home runs in 46 games back in 2015, he’ll bring production to a position the Yankees desperately need production from.

1 COMMENT

  1. Bird, right up until the end of Spring Training, looked like not only the starter, but a serious potentially major offensive force. That was then. This is now. Bird hasn’t been able to stay healthy now for two solid years. In addition to producing on the field, he’s now got Yankee brass nervous that he can even stay healthy enough to stay on the field.

    That’s why Cashman HAS to find a COMPETENT 1B right now. It would be almost a miracle if Bird comes back to play by the end of this season, and with no idea whether the wait would be worth it. They still are holding out hope that his health issues won’t be chronic and career damaging. But they can’t afford to hope and pray.

    So Cashman will be looking for a young, hopefully athletic 1B who can start now and, possibly, back up Bird next year. Someone with a lot of value, not cost.