Yankees Talk: Mark Teixeira Weighs In On Greg Bird

Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports /

Recently retired Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira gave a ringing endorsement to his likely replacement, Greg Bird.

2015 Yankees prospect-darling, Greg Bird, has plenty to prove skeptics wrong when it comes to his ability to seamlessly rebound after missing the entire 2016 season after labrum surgery. While it remains to be seen if the 24-year-old Bird can hold off Tyler Austin from infringing upon his playing time, the man who held down first base for eight years in the Bronx, Mark Teixeira, is a big fan of the sweet swinging lefty.

“I am a big fan of Greg Bird,” Teixeira said Wednesday night at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center. “What he proved two years ago in the 2015 season, coming in and really performing at a high level, we know the talent is there. I loved the way he handled himself in the clubhouse.”

Not quite Gary Sanchez-esque, Bird did manage to amass a rather impressive stat line in just 46 games during the tail-end of the ’15 season – batting .261, with 11 home runs and 31 RBI after filling in for Teixeira who went down with a broken shin.

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“He’s coming off a major shoulder surgery. He might be a little rusty. And I would just tell him, ‘Listen, you’re not going to hit your 30 home runs in April. I went through it as much as anybody. You’re going to have ups and downs,” Teixeira said. “But everything is there for Greg Bird and the experience of playing in Yankee Stadium already is going to be a huge asset for him moving forward.”

Should Bird struggle out of the gate, the next man up with likely be Austin – not Teixeira who confirmed once again that his playing days are now behind him.

“But there is not one part of me that wants to work out right now. There is not one part of me that wants to plan for a season away from my family,” Teixeira said. “If you told me I had to get up tomorrow morning at 6:30 and do a three-hour workout — which is what I usually would do, I would say, ‘Nope, I am out.’ That is a good place to be because one of the reasons I retired was my body didn’t feel good anymore. I wanted to spend more time with my kids. And I didn’t feel like I could perform at the level I was capable of.”

Teixeria did say he would do whatever he could to mentor the Yankees’ new first basemen – as long as he can do it from the comfort of his Connecticut home.

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“Everybody has my phone number,” Teixeira said. “If a guy like Birdie or anybody wants to call me, I’d love to help out anybody. But the last thing I want to do right now is go to spring training and hang out.”