Having Greg Bird's left-handed stroke in the lineup for a full big league campaign is a tantalizing fantasy for the Yankees, enough so that general manager Brian Cashman was content to roll into the regular season despite a perceived lack of depth at first base.
It is a gamble. Since Bird was limited to just 48 regular-season games by a right ankle injury in 2017, alarm bells sounded on Saturday in Yankees camp when Bird was scratched from a split-squad lineup against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., complaining of soreness in his right foot.
“I’m worried about it, to be honest. Because I’m not sure what we’re dealing with.”—Brian Cashman on Greg Bird’s foot injury. Waiting for CT scan and MRI results.— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) 24 de marzo de 2018
Removed from the lineup by bench coach Josh Bard, Bird traveled back to Tampa, where an MRI and CT scan revealed right foot inflammation, the Yankees announced. Bird is scheduled to be evaluated by foot specialist Dr. Martin O'Malley on Monday in New York.
Aaron Boone on Greg Bird: “(We are) at least a little bit optimistic, based on the pictures, but tomorrow should tell us a lot as far as what it is time-wise, all those kinds of things. Hopefully we’ll get some good answers tomorrow.”— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) 25 de marzo de 2018
"I'm worried about it, to be honest," Cashman said before Bird underwent the MRI and CT scan. "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. We're deep and we have other people who can pick up the slack, so hopefully it won't be long."
The 25-year-old Bird has batted .154 (8-for-52) with a double, a home run and four RBIs in 18 spring games.
Cashman said that Bird told him there was discomfort in the ankle after playing nine innings at first base in Friday's 5-0 Grapefruit League loss to the Red Sox. He did not seek treatment, and the discomfort intensified after batting practice on Saturday at the Braves' spring home.
"You understand what we think of him as a player and what we believe his ceiling is, so the biggest thing for him to be able to prove that would be his health," manager Aaron Boone said. "We think that's the only thing that stands in his way of being a premium player."
Update on 1B Greg Bird: Results from an MRI and CT scan taken earlier today revealed right foot inflammation. Bird is scheduled to be evaluated by foot specialist, Dr. Martin O’Malley, on Monday in New York.— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) 24 de marzo de 2018
Last spring, Bird fouled a ball off his right ankle in the team's final Grapefruit League exhibition on March 30, forcing him to leave a game against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla. Initially diagnosed as a contusion, that incident set off a sequence of events that saw Bird undergo surgery in July.
Bird returned in late August and contributed some of the Yankees' biggest hits of the stretch drive, including three postseason homers. Cashman said that the current injury is in a "similar area" to last year's issue.
Bryan Hoch | MLB.com