Yankees: Is Brandon Drury on his way to playing first base?

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 30: Brandon Drury
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 30: Brandon Drury /

With Tyler Austin and Greg Bird both scuffling at first base for the Yankees, it’s possible Brandon Drury soon gets his wish to return to the majors, this time at a new position.

On Tuesday night, Brandon Drury played first base for the Triple-A RailRiders. After being 100 percent cleared of severe migraines and blurred vision, not to mention 34 successful contests in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he hit .313 with two home runs, 14 RBI and a .897 OPS, Drury let it be known he’s ready to return to the Yankees.

Batting third and manning first base for Scranton in Game 2 of Tuesday’s doubleheader versus Rochester, Drury went 1-for-3 with a two-run triple, securing the victory.

Though Tyler Austin was a significant factor in keeping the Yanks afloat during the first month of the major league season — and is still second in the American League in home runs by a rookie, (8), his playing time has all but vanished since Greg Bird’s return from the disabled list on May 26.

Since May 25, Austin has started just four games, where he is 0-for-15 with 10 strikeouts. Blaming Austin for his struggles is a bit ridiculous, considering ballplayers are creatures of habit and without consistent at-bats, there’s little chance a slugger regains his timing at the plate.

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It’s one of the reasons manager Aaron Boone has trotted Greg Bird out there for 13 games and 55 plate appearances, despite his slow start.

There was a lot of pressure on Bird to come off the DL and hit the ground running. I mean, the media has been staking claim to him as a breakout player for the past two seasons. And immediately inserting him into the No. 3 hole didn’t help ease him back into action either.

Which is why no one should be surprised by Bird’s sluggish stat line: .176/.236/.392, two home runs, four RBIs and a 16:2 K:BB ratio.

Obviously, it’s a small sample size, and no one is throwing Bird out with the bathwater (especially since his trade value is at an all-time low), but contingencies are being made.

Following the Yankees 3-0 win over the Nationals, Aaron Boone told NJ.com he’s all for adding even more versatility to Brandon Drury’s game, which already includes the ability to play second base, third and both corner outfield positions.

"“It can definitely help,” Boone said. “Versatility has been something that Brandon has done throughout his career, obviously played a lot of second the last couple of years. So I think adding some versatility to his game certainly puts him in a better position to be able to help our club again at some point.”"

With only one big league start at first under his belt, it’ll take some time for Drury to get comfortable around the bag, which should allow Bird to either sink or swim.

Unfortunately for Austin, all the good he did to begin the year has been wiped away, and it’s likely he is soon demoted for a starting pitcher. At least down in Scranton, he’ll get a plethora of at-bats.

For all the Greg Bird pacifists, that love to remind me about 2015, and his epic home run off of Andrew Miller in last season ALDS, no one knows for sure if Drury is coming for Bird’s job, or that he’ll eventually platoon with him vs. left-handed pitching — yet.

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But if Bird doesn’t pick up the pace soon, something will be done — whether it’s significantly dropping him in the order or sitting him for a string of games, ala Gary Sanchez.