Yankees first baseman Greg Bird missed most of last season with a right ankle injury. The 25-year-old is now battling soreness in the same foot and will go for an MRI and a CT scan, per Randy Miller of NJ.com. Bird’s status concerns general manager Brian Cashman, who said Saturday: “I’m worried about it to be honest. I’m not sure what we’re dealing with, but when Greg can’t tee it up, it’s a problem for us because obviously he’s a vital member of our organization.” Cashman went on to indicate that the Yankees won’t attempt to replace Bird via trade if he lands on the shelf. The recently signed Neil Walker and Tyler Austin are among the Yankees’ in-house first base options, but it’s worth noting that they recently had Adam Lind in camp. The club signed Lind to a minor league pact in early March before releasing him midway through the month. Lind remains on the market and would make for a logical pickup on paper, but there’s no word on whether New York is interested in re-signing him in the event of another serious injury to Bird.
[Update: The Yankees announced that Bird is dealing with inflammation and will see a specialist Monday.]
More from the East Coast…
- Right-hander Seth Lugo has won the fifth spot in the Mets’ rotation, meaning fellow righty Zack Wheeler will head to Triple-A Las Vegas, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com was among those to report. Lugo will fill in for injured southpaw Jason Vargas, who will open the season on the disabled list after suffering a fracture to his non-throwing hand last week, behind Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz. Vargas could return as early as April 9, DiComo notes, and Lugo is likely to head to the bullpen then.
- Righty A.J. Cole will begin the season as the Nationals’ fifth starter, manager Dave Martinez announced Sunday (via Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com). That’s not surprising, as fellow righty Jeremy Hellickson isn’t adequately stretched out yet after recently signing with the Nats on a minor league deal. Cole will join Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark in Washington’s season-opening rotation.
- Outfielder Craig Gentry is likely to make the Orioles, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com suggested (on Twitter) after they optioned outfield prospect Austin Hays to Double-A on Saturday. Gentry, 34, is in his second year with the franchise; he re-signed on a minor league contract in the offseason after slashing .257/.333/.386 in 117 major league PAs in 2017.