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Holliday appreciates Pujols' major milestone

MLB.com @BryanHoch

TORONTO -- Matt Holliday shared a clubhouse with Albert Pujols for parts of three seasons as members of the Cardinals from 2009-11. The Yankees' designated hitter remembers being awed by the star's consistency and ability to rise to the occasion.

Holliday applauded his former teammate from afar on Sunday morning, one day after Pujols became the ninth player in history to hit 600 home runs. Pujols joined that elite group with a grand slam off the Twins' Ervin Santana in the Angels' 7-2 victory in Anaheim.

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TORONTO -- Matt Holliday shared a clubhouse with Albert Pujols for parts of three seasons as members of the Cardinals from 2009-11. The Yankees' designated hitter remembers being awed by the star's consistency and ability to rise to the occasion.

Holliday applauded his former teammate from afar on Sunday morning, one day after Pujols became the ninth player in history to hit 600 home runs. Pujols joined that elite group with a grand slam off the Twins' Ervin Santana in the Angels' 7-2 victory in Anaheim.

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:: Albert Pujols 600-HR club coverage ::

"I think he's obviously proven to be one of the greatest players of any generation," Holliday said. "Six hundred homers is crazy. He's a great guy, great teammate, great friend. He's done a tremendous amount of work in the community, and I'm just really happy for him. It's a sign of greatness over a long period of time."

Holliday joined the 300-homer club earlier this season and said that he used to enjoy chatting about hitting with Pujols.

"I think [I enjoyed] just listening to him talk about what he thinks and how he approaches certain pitchers," Holliday said. "We used to talk a lot about hitting, so I learned a lot from Albert -- just watching him and being around him. He's a very smart baseball player."

Help on the way?

The Yankees reside in first place in the American League East, despite getting nearly no production from their first basemen this season. Greg Bird, Chris Carter and Rob Refsnyder have combined for an anemic .165/.279/.293 slash line at the position, and the Yanks' .571 OPS at first base ranks last among the 30 big league clubs.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he plans to speak with general manager Brian Cashman this week to check how Bird and Tyler Austin are progressing.

"I'm going to talk to Cash when we get back [to New York] and see where he feels Greg is at, where Tyler is at, and where we go from here," Girardi said.

Bird is 3-for-6 with a double, an RBI and a walk in his first three rehab games at Class A Tampa, while Austin is hitting .341/.396/.545 in 13 Minor League games. Austin has tallied 44 at-bats so far; Girardi has talked about him needing 55 to 60 -- since he missed all of Spring Training.

"As of [Sunday], I think he's played on a pretty regular basis, his at-bats are getting up there, so we'll see what our people think," Girardi said.

Worth noting

Jacoby Ellsbury (concussion) will see a neurologist on Monday in New York after his headaches returned this weekend. The Yankees have halted all activity for Ellsbury, who was instructed only to rest on Sunday. Girardi said there is some hope that Ellsbury could be activated next week.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Matt Holliday