Greg Bird wants first base back from Luke Voit, and the resulting duel could be the highlight of New York Yankees Spring Training in 2019.
Voit currently stands atop the depth chart at first base. He’s a formidable opponent known for one-armed bench-pressing and a torrid end of 2018.
However, Bird told Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News that he’s been training since January to take back his position:
“I am able to work, get the work in that I wanted to get in and work on things I wanted to work on so I can get back into a normal place. Basically, I took November and December (off), and then started lifting, hitting, throwing and taking ground balls. It’s good.”
Bird needs to prove that he’s not injury prone. He missed all of 2016, most of 2017, and the first month and a half of 2018.
The 26-year-old must also demonstrate that he’s not the .199/.286/.386 hitter the Yankees saw in 2018.[membership level="0"]
Voit is out to show that his incredible 2018 wasn’t an aberration. The 28-year-old crushed 14 homers and plated 33 runs in 148 plate appearances after the Bombers acquired him in July.
Though the competition will be cutthroat, Bird harbors no ill will toward his spring-training adversary.
“He obviously came up and was a huge part of our success,” Bird told Ackert. “That’s awesome. That’s a challenge. It’s going to be a fun spring.”
The fun starts on Feb. 23 against the Boston Red Sox. Let the rivalries begin.