NEW YORK -- Greg Bird was once envisioned as the Yankees' first baseman of the future, owning a left-handed stroke that seemed destined for stardom within Yankee Stadium's friendly dimensions, but the first baseman has been unable to stay on the field for the past three-plus seasons.
That frustrating trend continued on Tuesday, as Bird was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left plantar fascia tear, retroactive to Sunday. Bird will wear a boot for 10 days to two weeks, according to manager Aaron Boone, and is not expected to return to the lineup for at least a month.
Bird is the 13th Yankees player to land on the injured list this season, with 12 players currently residing there.
"We've got to roll with it," Boone said. "I am sure you guys are a little sick of me saying, 'Next man up,' but it truly is the case. We've got to get guys well, get them right and get them the proper treatment to get them back as quickly as possible. It's an opportunity for somebody else to come up and impact our club."
That chance will go to Mike Ford, who was selected from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and signed to a Major League contract. Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury was transferred to the 60-day injured list to create 40-man roster space for Ford, a 26-year-old first baseman who has been swinging a hot bat for the Yanks' top farm affiliate.
"He's a guy we know can really hit the ball and I think has a chance to really impact us this week," Boone said. "It's an opportunity for someone else to step up here and contribute to us winning games."
Bird entered the season in a competition with Luke Voit to serve as the starting first baseman, though both made the Opening Day roster due to outfielder Aaron Hicks' lingering back injury. Boone believed that Bird's glove was slightly better than Voit's, but Bird was off to a slow start, batting .171/.293/.257 with one homer in 10 games.
Boone said that Bird was "a little bit sore" and sought treatment on his left foot prior to Saturday's 4-0 win over the White Sox.
"I almost scratched him [from the lineup] that day, but he said he was good to go," Boone said. "We got through that game, but we noticed him limping a little bit. He was available as a pinch-hitter [on Sunday], but then in the later part of the game, I had gotten word he really couldn't do much. So that's when we got the tests going."
After making his big league debut in August 2015, Bird sustained a right labrum tear that forced him to miss all of '16 and a right ankle injury that required surgery in May 2017. Bird had another right ankle procedure in March 2018 that cost him the first 48 games of the season.
"I think unfortunately it is a little story so far of not being fully healthy," Boone said. "He's dealt with different ailments. Even at times when he's been able to play through something, I think to a degree it has held him back a little bit. I fully believe he can be an impact hitter in this league, but you've got to stay healthy to be able to do that."
Ford earned his opportunity with a sizzling start at Triple-A. Through 10 games for the RailRiders, he was batting .410/.467/.897 with four doubles, five homers and 14 RBIs. The Princeton University product was signed as a non-drafted free agent in July 2013 and was selected by the Mariners in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft, but he was returned to New York three months later.
"It's crazy. It's the only word to describe it," Ford said. "Twelve guys on the [injured list], when is the last time a team has had that? It opens some doors; you never want to see it happen, but I'm just here to help the team win."