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Teixeira went on to say that “we’re not talking about a 35-year-old at the end of his career; you expect those things from older players. This is a guy who has just started his career, 300 at-bats in the Big Leagues. So you do worry maybe he’s either the most unlucky player in baseball, or there is something physically that he’s not able to heal as well as some players.”
Bird Soars When Healthy
When you look at Bird’s career so far, Texieira’s comments do raise some questions. In 2012, a year after being drafted by the Yankees, Bird played in only 28 games. Fortunately, he was able to play 130 games in 2013, followed by 102 games in 2014.
2015 gave us our first taste of what Greg Bird can do when healthy. He played 129 games between Double-A, Triple-A and the majors, and hit 23 home runs.
Unfortunately, Bird would miss the entire 2016 season with a shoulder injury.
In Spring Training last season, Bird again showcased the greatness that he’s capable of. His 16 extra-base hits led the league, and he tied with Bryce Harper for the league lead with 8 home runs. Though Bird was off to an amazing start, he would go on to miss 103 games with a foot injury.
Bird was healthy again in time for the 2017 playoffs and his home run against former Yankee Andrew Miller changed the momentum of the ALDS in the Yankees’ favor.
When the Yankees signed Neil Walker a few weeks ago, some were wondering if this meant that rookie Tyler Wade would start the season in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Walker has been playing both first and second base this spring in case of an injury.
On Monday the Yankees announced that Bird would miss the first six to eight weeks of the season after undergoing surgery on his right ankle.
Equally troubling is that Bird’s replacement, Neil Walker, has missed 100 games over the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Greg Bird has already missed over 350 games in his pro career and he’s not even 26 yet. It might be time for Brian Cashman to test the waters for a more durable player at first base.