The Phillies signed Greg Bird to a minor league contract Sept. 15, but the first baseman tested positive for the coronavirus upon physical entry after that, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Consequently, the Phillies did not place Bird on their 40-man playoff roster. Fortunately, though, none of the Phillies at the team’s alternate site were exposed to Bird.
The Phillies signed Bird as a potential insurance policy at first base, where starter Rhys Hoskins hasn’t played since Sept. 12 because of a UCL injury in his left arm. It now seems likely the Phillies, who are battling for a playoff spot, will have to go the rest of the regular season without Hoskins. They’ve used a mix of Alec Bohm, Phil Gosselin and Jay Bruce in Hoskins’ place, while Jean Segura has taken over for Bohm as their primary third baseman and Scott Kingery has slid in for Segura at second.
Meantime, it’s very much up in the air whether Bird will ever play for the Phillies, though the main hope for now is that he’ll be able to recover well from this illness. Once a well-regarded Yankees prospect, Bird burst on the scene in 2015, but a series of health issues have derailed his career since then. The 27-year-old took 522 trips to the plate from 2017-19 but could only muster a .194/.287/.388 line, and Bird didn’t stick with the Rangers for long after they signed him over the winter.