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Bird glad to be 'back in the Stadium'

First baseman reaches base three times in return to Yankees lineup
Special to MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Activating first baseman Greg Bird from the 60-day disabled list Saturday gave Yankees manager Joe Girardi another bat for his lineup, but it also gave him what could become a daily puzzle for the final month-plus of the season.

Bird's arrival sent Todd Frazier (aka "Toddfather" on Players Weekend) to the bench for Saturday's game against the Mariners, with Chase Headley (aka "Head") moving to the hot corner and Bird playing at first. It worked out well, with Bird and Headley drawing two walks apiece and scoring on Jacoby Ellsbury's (aka "Chief") three-run, fourth-inning home run, which set the Yankees on the way to a 6-3 win. Bird also recorded a single. Tyler Austin was optioned to Triple-A following Friday's loss to Seattle.

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NEW YORK -- Activating first baseman Greg Bird from the 60-day disabled list Saturday gave Yankees manager Joe Girardi another bat for his lineup, but it also gave him what could become a daily puzzle for the final month-plus of the season.

Bird's arrival sent Todd Frazier (aka "Toddfather" on Players Weekend) to the bench for Saturday's game against the Mariners, with Chase Headley (aka "Head") moving to the hot corner and Bird playing at first. It worked out well, with Bird and Headley drawing two walks apiece and scoring on Jacoby Ellsbury's (aka "Chief") three-run, fourth-inning home run, which set the Yankees on the way to a 6-3 win. Bird also recorded a single. Tyler Austin was optioned to Triple-A following Friday's loss to Seattle.

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Frazier, who has hit just .210 in 35 games since coming to the Yankees in a July 19 trade with the White Sox, could be affected most by Bird's arrival. Girardi met with Frazier on Saturday morning and assured him that there will still be some playing time available.

"I think it's important to keep guys fresh," Girardi said. "You have to perform to play. We'll make the decisions day by day."

Yanks Players Weekend nicknames explained

With Headley able to play both corner infield spots, Girardi has three players for two positions. All three could be in the lineup on other days, because Girardi said he may also use Headley or Bird as the designated hitter on days Gary Sanchez (aka "Kraken") is the catcher. On Saturday, Sanchez went 0-for-4 as the DH, while Austin Romine (aka "Ro") caught, going 1-for-4 with a run scored.

Bird hadn't played a Major League game since May 1, and he had just 60 at-bats because of what was first diagnosed as a bone bruise of his right ankle. He had surgery July 18 to remove the os trigonum bone from his right foot.

Video: SEA@NYY: Bird in lineup for first time since May 1

"It's fun to be back in the Stadium," said Bird, who reached base three times in four plate appearances. "It was a good win to be part of."

Bird, who hit .423 in 26 at-bats at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, said he feels much better than he did in April, when the foot injury sustained late in Spring Training contributed to his .100 batting average in 19 games before going on the DL.

Yankees Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com

The Yankees remember how good Bird was down the stretch in 2015, when he hit 11 home runs in 46 games, and also how well he hit in Spring Training this year.

"We're getting a healthy player who is swinging the bat well," Girardi said.

Video: SEA@NYY: Gray and Bird on Yankees' 6-3 win

Worth noting

• The Yankees announced two changes for game times. The Sept. 3 home game against the Red Sox will now start at 7:35 p.m. ET, and the game the following day in Baltimore will begin at 2:05 p.m.

Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York.

New York Yankees, Tyler Austin, Greg Bird