Earlier this week, the Yankees were in discussions of platooning a bench player with Gregory Bird at first base after his batting average dipped to .237. There were talks of the Yankees trying out Alex Rodriguez back at first or even moving Chase Headley across the diamond to man the three corner.
Now, with Mark Teixeira being placed on the 15-day DL earlier this afternoon, the Yankees might be inclined to kick-start this plan sooner rather than later.
However, ever since these discussions started to leak, Gregory Bird has done nothing but prove Yankees management wrong.
In the series finale up in Fenway Park, Bird wen’t two-for-four with two RBI and an absolute monster of a home run off Red Sox prospect Henry Owens, proving that he should be the everyday starting first baseman for as long as Mark Teixeria remains on the disabled list.
Initially, Bird was promoted to the big league club when Dustin Ackley was injured and the Yankees were left without a backup first baseman on the roster. Getting Greg Bird some major league at-bats was nice, but the Yankees really only needed him to give Tex some rest during his occasional off-days.
However, once Mark Teixeira was sidelined with a bone bruise, Bird’s playing time increased drastically, and so did his role in the Yankees club house.
With Tex’s injury apparently much worse than originally expected, the Yankees are now relying on Bird to consistently be that same middle-of-the-order power bat that Tex provided them with.
It’s not east to replace a guy offensively who was batting .255 with 31 home runs and 79 RBI, especially not in the heat of a playoff race!
However, despite the naysayers, Greg Bird seems to be doing just that. As we enter Friday nights series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays, Greg Bird is now hitting .254 with three home runs and 12 RBI through just 63 at-bats.
Yes, Bird is still struggling against right-handed pitchers, averaging just .212 compared to his .455 average off southpaws, and yes the Yankees are in a heated playoff race with the Toronto Blue Jays, but I still believe Bird should be the starting first baseman regardless of who the opposing pitcher is.
As a matter of fact, I would behoove skipper Joe Girardi to just come out and say Greg Bird is the starting first baseman while Tex is sidelined just to give the kid some confidence! He’s just 22-years old, and given the circumstances, he’s doing pretty well for the New York Yankees during this playoff push!
Through 17 games, Greg Bird is off to a .250 + with 20 homers and a 100 RBI pace, which is quite similar to what Mark Teixeira provides us.
Do the right thing by your number four overall prospect Girardi!
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