New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird may undergo exploratory surgery to determine why he is still feeling pain from an ankle injury that has kept him out since May 1, GM Brian Cashman told reporters on Monday.
Bird, 24, fouled a ball off his ankle and went on the disabled list the next day. He received a cortisone shot but said his ankle has not improved much.
"All the diagnostic tests show the bone bruise has healed and he still has pain," Cashman said, according to Newsday's David Lennon.
Manager Joe Girardi said on June 21 he was unsure if Bird would return this season. Bird, too, told reporters he thought he was "very close" to returning at the beginning of June, but still complained of soreness as recently as two weeks ago.
"The complaints are real," Cashman said, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. "He can't play, he wants to play and we haven't been able to get him back."
Bird said he is not yet thinking about surgery, according to the New York Post's Zach Braziller. He had a .100/.250/.200 batting line with one home run and three RBIs in 19 games before he went on the DL this season. He missed the entire 2016 season due to a shoulder injury.
"I don't doubt what I can do," Bird said, according to Hoch. "I'm going to play a long time, so for me, this is just a little bump in a long road."
When Bird finally went on the disabled list, it seemed like rest and rehab would be a simple resolution to the problem. Sadly, that's no longer the case; in fact, his entire season is hanging in the balance.
The Yankees would be wise to push Bird into such a surgery at this point. It could help pinpoint the problem and determine the proper course of action. It would also provide Bird and the team with a concrete answer to his availability this season.
First base has been a complete drain in the lineup this season, so if Bird is not coming back, the Yankees will need to determine if Chris Carter, Tyler Austin, a minor leaguer (Ji-Man Choi or Mike Ford?) or someone outside the organization is the answer for the second half of the season.