Bird, who once looked to have possibly the brightest future of any hitter in the Yankees’ lineup, just can’t seem to stay healthy.
The Yankees have placed first baseman Greg Bird on the 10-day injured list with a plantar fascia tear in his left foot — an injury that figures to cost him much more than 10 days:
Prior to tonight’s game, the @Yankees placed 1B Greg Bird on the 10-day I.L. (retro to 4/14) with a left plantar fascia tear, selected 1B Mike Ford from Triple-A @swbrailriders and signed him to a Major League contract, and transferred OF Jacoby Ellsbury to the 60-day I.L.
— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) April 16, 2019
This is just the latest setback in a series of unfortunate injuries for the 26-year-old Bird, whose feet and ankles seem to have structural integrity equivalent to those of an oversized NBA center. After breaking out with a .871 OPS in 2015, Bird missed the entire 2016 season while recovering from shoulder surgery. He missed most of 2017 due to a troublesome ankle bruise, then had surgery on that ankle the next spring and missed the first two months of the season.
The left-handed hitting Bird had been surpassed on the Yankees’ depth chart by Luke Voit long ago, but with the Bronx Bombers suffering a rash of injuries to start the season, he’d been getting quite a bit of playing time at first with Voit DHing. He didn’t take much advantage of that opportunity, hitting .171/.293/.257 while hitting just one homer in 41 plate appearances, and now he’ll join a who’s who of position players on the Yankees’ injured list: Miguel Andujar, Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Troy Tulowitzki, Didi Gregorius, and the infamous-and-probably-never-returning Jacoby Ellsbury.
Bird will be replaced on the 25-man roster by former Mariners Rule 5 pick Mike Ford, a 26-year-old Princeton product who has been toiling in the upper minors for four seasons now and is hitting a ridiculous .410/.467/.897 with five homers at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre so far in 2019.
If guys like Ford and Gio Urshela perform well while filling in for the many injured players, most or all of the currently-injured players return to health and the Yankees don’t suffer any more significant injuries for a while, Bird may have a tough time earning his spot back on the major-league roster after this development. Luckily for the Yankees, he’s been injured so much over the past few years that he hasn’t yet burned any minor-league options, meaning he can be stashed in Triple-A if they so choose.