Yankees: Bless the day when Bird rejoins the team, because we may need it

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees remain hopeful that the remainder of their original starting first baseman’s rehab continues on schedule. But what’s the plan if it doesn’t, or if Bird returns sub-par again?

If the Yankees are concerned about their situation at first base for the remainder of the season, they’re keeping it pretty close to their vest. And if they’re not concerned, they should be because the answer to the problem that they’ve given, so far, is more of a problem than the original problem.

And yes, I’m talking (once again) about the whipping boy, Chris Carter. How many times are we going to watch this guy take two quick strikes and then wave at a third? Are the Yankees paying attention or have they become numb, and therefore inert and powerless to do anything about it.

Okay, enough. That story has been overstated to the point where it’s almost become a cliche. But beyond the Carter debacle lies another story that is not yet receiving the attention, at least publicly, of the Yankees that it merits.

Are the Yankees in denial, or is it just me?

What happens if Greg Bird returns to the lineup after completing his rehab this week at Single-A Tampa and reinjures his ankle? It is the type of injury, after all, where a tweak here or a tweak there and the fragile ankle blows up again.

The job of a general manager in baseball is to hope for the best while always planning for the worst.

Or, even more ominous, what happens if Bird returns to the lineup and he’s the hitter he was in April instead of March?

As he did when Bird was hitting .100 with only six hits in 60 at-bats in April, Joe Girardi will stick with his guy and Bird will play. No quarrels with that, but if it happens again, that’s putting a lot of pressure on the other eight guys in the lineup to compensate.

Barring injury and by default, Girardi will never remove Bird from the lineup for the simple reason that he has no choice but to play him. Unless he still considers Carter a viable alternative.

Matt Holliday was brought in to be the Yankees everyday DH, and he’s providing the production that warrants keeping him there, even though he’s an adequate emergency fill-in at first base.

And maybe these words are written in invisible ink, and they’ll disappear off the page when Greg Bird comes back healthy and vibrant regarding his productivity and contributions to the Yankees lineup.

The Yankees should hope for the best but plan for the worst

But the job of a general manager in baseball is to hope for the best while always planning for the worst. And it could be that Brian Cashman tipped his hand a little bit when he promoted Matt Ford to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre from the Trenton Thunder where he was hitting .303/.412/.450.

But that would mean throwing a rookie with zero major league experience into a hornet’s nest if Bird falters or is re-injured. And it’s also a move that would smell of desperation if it happened.

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And so the days move on, and Chris Carter takes what are now his daily rips at the plate that send the ball nowhere and leave runners stranded on the basepaths.

We’ve lived with it, and the team keeps winning. But at the same time, aren’t the Yankees pressing their luck a little bit? So, what is Plan B, Brian?

Yankees drop a squeaker to the Orioles

The Yankees lost the first of a three-game set with the Orioles by a score of 3-2 this afternoon. Jordan Montgomery took the loss and noticeably had trouble with his command, throwing 100 pitches in only 4.1 innings of work.

The offense had another one of those off days that increasingly seem to follow an “on” day against Dylan Bundy, managing only seven hits.

The one bright spot was another blast off the bat of Aaron Judge on a full-count pitch that hit the right-center field seats before John Sterling could even begin his patented home-run call. The home run, Judge’s 17th of the year, puts him back in the American League lead, just ahead of Mike Trout.

Tomorrow night, the two teams will match up again with Luis Severino (3-2 3.11) facing Chris Tillman (1-1 4.43) at Camden Yards.