Yankee first baseman Greg Bird recently spoke to NJ Advance Media about the season he’s had, which has included losing his job to mid-season acquisition Luke Voit, and what he sees for himself going forward. So far, 2018 has been a disappointing season for Bird, and no one seems to know that better than him. Bird is always quick to point out that riding the bench is where he belongs right now, and that no one took his starting job from him, he lost it.
In 2015, Bird exploded onto the scene mashing 11 homers in 46 games. Since 2016, Bird has had problems. If it hasn’t been physical, it’s been failing to thrive on the diamond. At 25, his career is far from over, but even he admits he isn’t developing into the star that he had been forecast as. He knows there is still time to turn it all around, but whether that will be with the Yankees or not is a different ball of wax.
Bird said he tried his best to stay positive when he was struggling. It became difficult to ignore the writing on the wall, however, when utility infielder Neil Walker began playing first, and then the Yankees traded for Luke Voit. Even after Voit was acquired, he was sent to the minors and Bird was given a shot to get hot, but it didn’t happen.
“You have to keep going. There’s been times where it sucks and I’m down on myself or whatever, but I’ve got good people around me. I’m just going to keep working and keep my head up. This season is still going. It’s far from over and I’m still here.”
When asked about why he’s had the struggles he has this year, he seems to believe it all stems from the surgeries he’s had. There was surgery prior to 2016 which cost him the season, and then foot surgery this past March.
“Surgeries take the offseason to completely heal. Surgeries take time. In baseball when you’re doing something every day … Even right now, even though I’m not playing – I’m not starting – I get ready. You know what I mean? There are things that I do every day, so you can’t totally not do anything.”
Despite his health problems and woes at the plate, which are only overshadowed by those of teammate Gary Sanchez, Bird maintains that long-term he will be fine. He says he can hit and play but just isn’t right now. While he says he isn’t worried about his future with the Yankees, he does understand they will go with players that are producing. As he told NJ Advance Media, “You ain’t going to be the first baseman hitting 0.190.”
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