Greg Bird has a visit scheduled for Monday with Dr. Martin O’Malley in Manhattan to take a look at his inflamed right foot, the same foot that caused him to miss a majority of the 2017 season.
To be realistic: this sucks. Aaron Boone and the Yankees brass have sky high expectations for the 25-year old first baseman, with the team planning of batting him in the three-hole between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. This very well could amount to nothing after his visit with Dr. O’Malley, but it certainly feels like it could be very problematic.
Bird was slotted to be in the lineup on Saturday and was an early morning scratch due to inflammation in his foot. Bird has been extremely unlucky with his injuries in the past and it looks like his bad luck is running into 2018.
If Greg Bird has to miss an extended period of time, the Yankees will more than likely turn to a platoon with newly acquired Neil Walker and Tyler Austin. Walker last season had an .842 OPS vs RHP (.801 in his career) and Austin has mashed left handed pitching in the minor leagues last year with an 1.173 OPS.
Tyler Austin has worked extremely hard to move his way up in the Yankees organization, and at this point he deserves a spot on the major league team; at least for the time being. Walker however in my opinion, has been undersold within the Yankees organization and I am glad he is getting an opportunity to work himself into the lineup.
This shows the brilliance of Brian Cashman. He went out and made an extremely cheap deal for a proven player in order to add more depth to the organization. Most Yankees fans were confused as to why he went out and signed Walker, but Cashman did so in order to stick to his word of the offseason: flexibility.
Although Greg Bird is a massive part of the plans for this year and the future, Brian Cashman has made sure to plan for just about every issue. A platoon situation should buy enough time at first base for Bird to get healthy.