After missing the entire 2016 season to a shoulder injury, there were question marks surrounding Greg Bird as he entered camp.
Those questions marks didn’t last for long after he hit not one, but two home runs against the Boston Red Sox.
“I just try to have quality at-bats, every day, every at-bat,” Bird said following the Yankees 5-4 win over the Red Sox on Tuesday afternoon. “I want to drive the ball to the gaps, and whatever happens after that is out of my hands. I want to swing at strikes, swing at pitches I want to hit and I want to do damage. So we’ll take as many (homers) as we can get.”
Bird also hit two doubles as his first hits of the Spring against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. However, he was tagged out at third twice due to some poor baserunning.
Bird had no issues going to third on Tuesday.
“He can hit. We just really feel that he can really hit,” Joe Girardi about his first baseman. “We saw it when he came up — lefties didn’t really affect him a whole lot.”
Bird is the favorite to win the first base competition as long as he can leave new acquisition Chris Carter in the dust. Bird was considered the heir to Mark Teixeira since the 2015 season when he made his Major League debut and slugged a .871 OPS.
But during an offseason workout, Bird blew out his shoulder and needed surgery. Bird spent the entire 2016 season rehabbing his shoulder at the Tampa minor league complex.
Now, Bird has a chance to be the heir to Teixeira. And there will be no one to stop him.
“My whole psychological standpoint as far as outlook on the position coming up with (Mark Teixeira in front of me) was I just have to do my job, be very good at what I do and be ready to play — and now more than ever,” Bird said.
“To be completely honest with you, if there’s anything I learned in my first six years, it’s that you can’t control anyone else and that you just have to work hard, become the best player you can each day and kind of let the rest take care of itself, because you don’t know what can happen. That’s kind of my go-to, and that’s what I’m sticking with.”