BOSTON -- When Garrett Cooper envisioned his Major League debut, he never considered a scenario where he'd be wearing a Yankees uniform at Fenway Park. Traded by the Brewers on Thursday, the 26-year-old scarcely had time to meet his new teammates before being introduced to the historic rivalry.
"It's been a whirlwind last 24 hours," Cooper said. "It's every kid's dream to get the call up to the big leagues. You couldn't ask for a better organization to make it up with."
Acquired in a swap for left-handed reliever Tyler Webb, Cooper is the eighth player to start at first base for the Yankees this season, and the 11th to appear at the position. Yankees first basemen entered Friday ranking second to last in the Majors with a .620 OPS.
"The bar has been set very low for 2017 for anybody to help us at that position, so hopefully that helps," general manager Brian Cashman said.
Cooper said that he learned of the trade after returning from the Triple-A All-Star Game in Tacoma, Wash., seeing his cell phone light up with several missed calls and text messages. He was batting .366/.428/.652 with 17 homers and 82 RBIs for Triple-A Colorado Springs.
"I focused a lot more on putting balls in the air," Cooper said. "You hear a lot of people say, 'Oh, you're playing in Colorado, the PCL is a hitter's league.' I think I made a big step in my career, putting more balls in the air this year."
Optimism has dimmed that Greg Bird will be able to return to the lineup after being limited to just 60 at-bats. Cashman said that Bird has been diagnosed with inflammation over the os trigonum bone in his ankle. A second cortisone injection is a last resort before Bird submits to a surgical procedure with an estimated recovery time of six to eight weeks.
"I don't think there's any guarantee [Bird will return], and I think that's probably why Brian went out and made the trade," manager Joe Girardi said.
In Bird's absence, the majority of the time at first base went to the since-released Chris Carter. Ji-Man Choi has homered twice since being called up, and Girardi said that he has not yet decided how he will divide playing time between Choi and Cooper.
"I think you have to give Garrett an opportunity here," Girardi said. "In Triple-A, he was playing against right-handers and left-handers. Choi has hit some home runs for us. It's just kind of a feel."
Cooper was thought of highly by Milwaukee players and brass, but his progress was blocked by the productive platoon of Eric Thames and Jesus Aguilar.
"It's an opportunity for me to come in and play right away," Cooper said. "Hopefully I can maximize all opportunities I get."
• Designated hitter Matthew Holliday returned from his injury rehab assignment and was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list prior to Friday's game. Holliday had not played since June 24 due to a viral infection. Infielder-outfielder Rob Refsnyder was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
• The Yankees expect to have second baseman Starlin Castro (right hamstring strain) back in the lineup on Saturday. Castro played for Double-A Trenton at Hartford on Friday evening.