Yankees 1B Greg Bird has an issue with the os trigonum of his right ankle, GM Brian Cashman told reporters on Friday.
Bird will either receive another cortisone shot or undergo surgery that would require a recovery time of six-to-eight weeks, according to Cashman.
Bird had been taking batting practice and doing drills with Class A Staten Island, reports Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.
The 24-year-old Bird has been out since May 1 due to what was diagnosed as a bone bruise in his ankle, which he suffered when he fouled a ball off of it during Spring Training.
"Now, it becomes more of a problem hitting. Plain and simple," Bird said last Sunday. "That's the biggest problem I've had so far. So, it's frustrating. We've tried a thousand different things. It's just, I still have problems, which is odd. But it's been frustrating, really."
Manager Joe Girardi said on June 21 that he was unsure if Bird would return this season. Bird told reporters he thought he was "very close" to returning at the beginning of June, but still complained of soreness as recently as three weeks ago.
Meanwhile, an unnamed Yankees insider suggested last week that Bird's ankle injury isn't as serious as he has claimed.
"You really have to wonder what's with this guy," the insider told Bill Madden of NY Daily News, "You'd think with Judge and Sanchez, the guys he came up through the system with, doing so well up here he'd want to be a part of this. Apparently not."
Bird defended his desire to return to the team this year, per ESPN's Andrew Marchand.
"I want to play," he said. "I've always wanted to play since I can remember. I love baseball. For me, I'm doing everything I can to come back. I love it and I want to be playing with these guys. I would hope people see it."
Bird has contemplated undergoing exploratory surgery to determine why he is still feeling pain from the injury, GM Brian Cashman told reporters a few weeks ago.
"All the diagnostic tests show the bone bruise has healed and he still has pain," Yankees GM Brian Cashman said last month about Bird's injury.
"The complaints are real," Cashman added, 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."
The injury news is not getting any better for Bird, but maybe pinpointing the actual problem is good enough at this point. Bird's second straight season of optimism might yet again end with disappointment. Even if Bird selects a cortisone shot, there is no indication that will cut it. And the way things have gone so far this season for the first baseman, the guess would be the worst-case scenario will come to fruition.
In the short term, recently acquired Garrett Cooper will make his major league debut this weekend and get some starts against the Boston left-handers stacked against the Yankees in the four-game series. It remains to be seen if the Yankees will use a platoon of Cooper and Ji-Man Choi until a final decision is made on Bird, or if Cooper will be a bulk of the at-bats going forward.
Once the decision (cortisone/surgery) on Bird is made, if he is deemed to be out for up to eight weeks, expect the Yankees to hit the trade market. The Yankees will likely go after a rental first baseman (I expect the Yanks believe Bird is part of the future equation) like the Athletics' Yonder Alonso or the Mets' Lucas Duda, in an effort to bring some stability to the cavernous hole at what is expected to be a prime offensive position.