Forget a pain in the butt! Greg Bird has a pain in the foot and won’t be starting this season with the New York Yankees. But let’s look at the positives.
Of course, that happened last season. Like deja vu all over again, Bird has once again sustained an injury to his right foot and will be undergoing surgery, as reported by the Yankees PR Twitter account.
Update on 1B Greg Bird: pic.twitter.com/A0ySPAYg3b
— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) March 26, 2018
Comparisons have been flying between Bird and Nick Johnson in regards to their unlucky injury histories. Will Bird become the next Johnson and disappoint after entering the league with so much promise?
The immediate response by fans and the organization alike is likely frustration. Bird boasts a sweet swing and incredible promise and yet, every time the Yankees look to give him a break, something happens. Then comes pity. You can tell Bird wants to be out there and playing but, for some reason, he just can’t seem to stay healthy.
While both are reasonable reactions, Yankees fans should be feeling something else: relief. The Yankees made several mistakes last year in misdiagnosing Bird and not taking his injury as seriously as they should have.
This year, they’re not taking any chances, which could help them in the regular season.
Bird fouled a ball off his foot to end his magical 2017 spring training and the Yankees let it linger on through the first month of the season. That month found Bird playing in 18 games and posting a .107 batting average with one home run and three RBI. After he suffered through it, the Yankees finally did something.
Finally, on May 2, 2017, Bird was placed on the 10-day disabled list. The Yankees even started his rehab assignment in the minors in June only to cut it short due to even more pain. The misdiagnosis kept Bird out for even longer than if he had the surgery to begin with.
That’s where they got it wrong last time. The doctors originally diagnosed Bird with just a bone bruise. However, the pain continued and the doctors told Bird to go back out and play.
This year, they went straight to the source. Bird went to visit Dr. Martin O’Malley, a foot and ankle specialist who correctly diagnosed his ankle issues last season. Skipping the middleman, the Yankees got the answers they needed right away as opposed to waiting until July like they did in 2017.
So they got the big question answered early. Although Bird’s surgery, which is scheduled for Tuesday, will keep him out for 6-8 weeks, it will still be a shorter time frame than last season, as long as all goes well.
Bird will miss time but at least the Yankees didn’t beat around the bush. They finally got something right when it came to Greg Bird.
Bird has all the potential to be a powerful home run hitter and, as general manager Brian Cashman said last year, the first baseman of the present and future. Right now, he’s hit yet another unlucky snag. At least the Yankees are being cautious this time and getting the answers early.
Think about it. Getting a healthy Greg Bird back in the middle of the season as opposed to August would benefit the team greatly, especially after seeing the show he put on this past postseason. By scheduling Dr. O’Malley to perform surgery sooner and diagnosing the right problem, the Yankees are helping themselves for the rest of the season.
There are backups that will perform just fine with Bird on the mend. Tyler Austin has done a great job this spring and Neil Walker will get a shot at proving himself at first. At least the Yankees have some reassurance that Bird will be returning to the lineup with enough time to prepare for another postseason run.
The Yankees did Greg Bird wrong last year and they’ll be damned if they do it again this season. Bird will be just fine, everyone. The Yankees finally have this one under control.