The nightmare for the New York Yankees and Greg Bird continues.
On Tuesday morning, the team announced that it placed the first baseman on the 10-day injured list with a left plantar fascia tear. Bird became the 13th Yankee this season to hit the injured list prior to the team’s 16th game of the season on Tuesday night against the Boston Red Sox.
Bird’s injury isn’t nearly as impactful as some of the other notable names that have gone down this season. The Yankees have already lost the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Hicks, Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez, and Didi Gregorius for extended periods of time.
Luke Voit will assume his role as starting first baseman, though the luster of his magical two-month run in the Bronx last season is starting to wear off already. After batting .333 with 14 home runs in 39 games to finish off 2018, Voit is batting just .204 in his first 15 games. Granted, the power is still there with four home runs and 14 RBI.
For Bird, it’s yet another injury that has derailed a once-promising career. Once believed to be the first baseman of the future, Bird missed the entire 2016 season due to shoulder surgery and appeared in just 130 games from 2017-2018 because of a pair of ankle surgeries.
After an elbow scare in spring training this year, Bird was set to split time at first base alongside Voit. Yet his performance at the plate has been miserable yet again, batting .171 with a home run in 35 at-bats.
It’s an even larger dip from his .196 batting average posted over the last two seasons, as patience with the 26-year-old has to be running extremely thin amongst Yankees management.
In a corresponding move, New York recalled Mike Ford from triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and moved Jacoby Ellsbury to the 60-day IL.
Ford has been ripping it up in the minors in 2019, batting .410 with five home runs and 14 RBI in just 10 games. Should the 26-year-old — who is on the verge of making his MLB debut — continue that kind of production in the big leagues, he’ll provide plenty of relief for the Yankees.
While the club has been the walking wounded, Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu have done just enough to keep the Yankees’ ship from capsizing during the early portions of the season as they try to stay within striking distance of the first-place Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.
Ford is a lefty at the plate and possesses a swing described by Fangraphs as having “natural loft.” That’s good news considering the short rightfield porch at Yankee Stadium as the door is seemingly open for him to step in for Bird for the long haul.