NEW YORK -- Greg Bird is not a platoon player for the Yankees, manager Joe Girardi said before Sunday's 10-1 win over the Mariners.Yes, Girardi left the left-handed-hitting Bird out of his starting lineup for Sunday afternoon's game against Mariners lefty Andrew Albers. Yes, the Yankees waited to activate Bird
NEW YORK -- Greg Bird is not a platoon player for the Yankees, manager Joe Girardi said before Sunday's 10-1 win over the Mariners.
Yes, Girardi left the left-handed-hitting Bird out of his starting lineup for Sunday afternoon's game against Mariners lefty Andrew Albers. Yes, the Yankees waited to activate Bird from the disabled list until Saturday, in effect choosing not to play him Friday against lefty Ariel Miranda.
Maybe that looks like a platoon, with Girardi able to play the switch-hitting Chase Headley (aka "Head" for Players Weekend) at first base with right-handed-hitting Todd Frazier (aka "Toddfather") at third, as he did Sunday against Albers. But the manager said that's not the case, and that's not the plan for Bird, who reached base three times in four plate appearances in his long-awaited return from the DL.
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"When he's right, I don't worry about him against anyone," Girardi said. "From what we've seen, when he's going right, he's pretty much an everyday player."
Bird did get in Sunday's game as a pinch-hitter, and he delivered a two-run single off right-handed reliever Dan Altavilla in the seventh inning.
Because of injuries that kept him out all of last season and much of this year, Bird doesn't yet have enough Major League plate appearances to indicate whether he can handle lefties. He's 10-for-46 (.217) against them in his career, with two home runs.
So why was Bird out of the starting lineup Sunday? Girardi said it was simply due to circumstances. Bird had played six straight days, including five rehab games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Saturday with the Yankees. Girardi plans to start him the next three days against the Indians, with Cleveland throwing three straight right-handers.
"Did I feel he needed a day today physically? No," Girardi said. "But to run him out there 10 days in a row, I didn't want to do that."
The Yanks are playing 16 straight days and 29 games in a 30-day span, so Bird isn't the only player who will be given days off. Girardi also gave left fielder Brett Gardner a day Sunday, allowing him to play Jacoby Ellsbury (aka "Chief") a day after Ellsbury hit a three-run home run.
Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York.