With all of these early season injuries, the Yankees have found themselves rolling with the punches. First baseman Greg Bird is among the injured, again.
Multiple All-Stars and top talent for the Yankees have found themselves on the IL. Miguel Andujar, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and Aaron Judge have joined Greg Bird on the sidelines, and amazingly the Yanks have made a surge.
At 17-13, the Yankees are finding a way to string together wins with a fraction of the anticipated talent.
With his absence at first base, it has been Luke Voit and Mike Ford manning the bag. However, it’s Voit that has performed excellently since Bird went to the IL with a left plantar fascia tear on April 17.
Voit, who has easily won a starting role with this team, has slashed .352/.470/.667 in Bird’s absence. Over his past 14 games, Voit has launched five baseballs out of the park and brought in 11 RBI’s.
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Even without a bat in his hand, Voit has become an integral part of this injury-ridden team. A rising fan-favorite, Voit is helping his case for being an everyday player with winning the AL Player of the Week honor during the week of April 21-28.
What better way to win an award, then with the bat of an injured teammate. During his impeccable hitting stretch, Voit has used Miguel Andujar’s bat.
Mike Ford, who was called up from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre following Bird’s injury, has not shown much in the early going. But with Bird out at least four weeks, there is ample time to see what the Princeton product is made of entirely.
In nine games with the Yankees, Ford has slashed .167/.394/.333. However, his incredible patience at the plate in the minor leagues has indeed translated to the big league level. Through 33 plate-appearances, Ford has matched his strikeouts and walks at eight.
With Voit and Ford able to perform admirably during this red-hot 10-4 run, what happens with Bird? Will he still have a spot on the 25-man roster when he becomes healthy — or is this latest injury the final nail in the coffin.
It’s increasingly likely Bird will be joining Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. That outcome, injury or not, was bound to happen. In 41 PA this season, Bird slashed .171/.293/.257. Those numbers are certainly not enough to be an everyday Major League Baseball player.
With the continued success of Voit and a lot of possible upside with Ford, it may finally be time to move on from Bird. Injuries aside, which are plentiful, Bird hasn’t shown numbers of the type of impact that mirrors Voit.
Over his career, Bird has slashed .211/.301/.424 in a combined 186 games. If the Yankees want to be a winning ballclub, going in the opposite direction of Bird will be necessary.
If that does inevitably happen, it seems that first base is in good hands. Voit and Ford have helped the Yankees sustain a surge in the AL standings, and that is the most essential thing this early in the season.
After a full month of games in the books, it seems as though Voit’s production late last season wasn’t a one-hit wonder and his performance on the field is seemingly getting better each day.
Isn’t it comical to think that the biggest worry coming into the 2019 season was the first base position? But it has since been uprooted with a devastating injury bug.
Injuries are something that the Yankees cannot afford to continue incurring if the chase for No. 28 is for real. And Greg Bird has shown his weakness to injury countless times before.