Surgery complete, Bird has eye toward return
ATLANTA -- Yankees first baseman Greg Bird underwent successful surgery on Tuesday on his right foot and will miss six to eight weeks. The club announced that the surgery was completed on Tuesday afternoon, a day after revealing that an operation was necessary.
"It's upsetting," first-year manager Aaron Boone said Monday afternoon. "I know it's upsetting to Greg, but at least we have some answers, and in the grand scheme of things, hopefully we do look back and it's a short-term bump in the road and we can get him back for good."
Boone said he spoke to Bird on Monday and that he was "fairly upbeat."
:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
Bird was scratched from the Yankees' lineup on Saturday, with tests showing inflammation. He was sent to New York, where he was evaluated by Dr. Martin O'Malley, who performed Tuesday's surgery to remove "a small broken spur" on the outside of his ankle.
Soreness in his right foot caused Bird to miss a majority of the 2017 season, playing in just 48 games.
In 18 games this spring, the 25-year-old hit just .154 in 52 at-bats, with a .267 on-base percentage and .497 OPS. Boone said Bird's nagging injury could have been a factor in his struggles at the plate.
Neil Walker got the nod to start at first base on Monday in Atlanta, batting seventh, and Boone told Christopher Austin on Monday afternoon that he made the ballclub.
"It's unfortunate," Austin told reporters before Monday's game. "It's not the way I wanted to make the team, but you take the hand you're dealt, and hopefully, it doesn't take him too long to get back up here because he's a big part of this team."
Austin hit .227 this spring with a .320 on-base percentage in 44 at-bats. The 26-year-old slugged four home runs and posted an .865 OPS.
Boone said he'll take a day-to-day approach, using matchups to insert Walker and Austin in the lineup. And with Tyler Wade in the mix at second base, Boone said there will be different combinations at first and second.
"We feel good about it," Boone said. "We're certainly going to miss Greg, but we feel good about what we can do from the matchup standpoint with those guys. We feel like Tyler Austin is ready for this opportunity."