Yankees first baseman Greg Bird underwent surgery on his right ankle on Tuesday morning and released a statement through his agent afterwards.
Bird had been shut down since May 1 after he went on the disabled list with what was diagnosed then as a bone bruise, however it did not heal the way the team thought it would, so Bird saw additional specialists.
Amid reports that questioned Bird's willingness to play with the team because he had missed so much time, Bird said, "For me, I'm doing everything I can to come back. I love [baseball] and I want to be playing with these guys. I would hope people see it." GM Brian Cashman also backed the 24-year-old first baseman.
"The complaints are real," Cashman told reporters. "He can't play. He wants to play and we haven't been able to get him back."
Bird initially suffered the injury when he fouled a ball off his ankle in spring training. Before he went on the disabled list, he was hitting .100 with one home run and three RBIs in 19 games. He missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury.
At this point, it almost seemed like a foregone conclusion that Bird would not help the Yankees this season. Despite the timeline, the Yankees would likely not play Bird in the majors in September, but rather him get him work during instructional league play and in the Arizona Fall League, a place with which Bird has become all too familiar.
Going forward, the Yankees resemble a team in desperate need of a full-time first baseman to finish out this season (or even beyond). Despite Ji-Man Choi playing decent ball since his call-up, having a rookie (Garrett Cooper) balance his own inexperience won't fly in a playoff chase.
The Yankees can go the rental route and talk to the Athletics about Yonder Alonso (maybe as a pairing with Sonny Gray, in whom the Yanks have reportedly shown interest) or they could look across town to the Mets who might be willing to move Lucas Duda. The Yankees can also pursue controllable first basemen such as Jose Abreu, Matt Adams or Justin Bour, to whom they have already been linked. Trading for a controllable first baseman would seem to indicate the Yankees could be either moving on from Bird completely, or simply not trusting his ability to be the main focus at first base in the future.