The Yankees announced that first baseman Greg Bird will undergo surgery on Tuesday “to remove a small broken spur on the outside aspect of his right ankle.” He’ll miss approximately six to eight weeks as a result.
This is the latest in a growing line of injury problems for the 25-year-old Bird, who sat out the entire 2016 campaign after undergoing shoulder surgery and then missed the majority of last season with a right foot injury. He and the Yankees are left to hope surgery repairs that foot, and it’ll leave the club with Tyler Austin and Neil Walker among its big league first base options in the meantime. If the Yankees look for outside help, it’s worth noting that they had Adam Lind in camp earlier this month. New York elected to release Lind, who remains a free agent.
Regardless of where the Yankees go from here at first, it’s obvious this is a notable blow to both them and Bird. At his best, the left-handed hitter has looked like a perfect fit for Yankee Stadium and its short right field porch. There was optimism that a healthy Bird would break out from the get-go this year and give the Yankees a fourth fearsome slugger to join Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez. But it’ll be yet another abbreviated campaign for Bird, who has played just 94 games since earning his first major league promotion in 2015.
Although Bird wowed during his rookie campaign with a .261/.343/.529 line (137 wRC+) in 178 plate appearances, last year’s injury limited him to a .190/.288/.422 showing (86 wRC+) in 170 PAs. To his credit, Bird returned in time for the playoffs to serve as one the Yankees’ top October performers before they fell in a seven-game ALCS against the Astros. That’ll go down as Bird’s last meaningful action until at least mid-May.