The Yankees have reinstated first baseman Greg Bird from the 10-day disabled list and optioned infielder Ronald Torreyes to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the team announced Saturday.
Bird missed the first 47 games after having a bone spur removed from his ankle. He hit three home runs and drove in eight runs in 12 Minor League rehab games. Since being called up in 2015, Bird has batted .227/.316/.477 with 20 home runs and 59 RBI in 94 games.
This will be Torreyes' first stint in the Minors since 2015 when he was in the Dodgers' system. Torreyes has been the Yankees' 25th man on the roster since 2016 and has hit .288/.316/.382 in 202 games with the Yankees.
The Yankees' offense has been rolling since the beginning of the season. Add Bird, a much-needed lefty hitter that can also mash, and this offense becomes even more difficult to navigate.
Bird is a patient hitter, one that will see plenty of pitches in each plate appearance. Bird has not hit much for average in this time with the Yankees, however he has displayed plenty of extra-base and home run power. It will be interesting to see where Yankees' manager Aaron Boone slots Bird, but I suspect it might be in the No. 3 hole, which had been the slot Didi Gregorius occupied when he was hot.
As for the corresponding move, demoting Torreyes might seem like a shock, but it is the right move.
The Yankees absolutely need an eight-man pen at the moment. The starting rotation is not pitching deep enough into games and the relief crew is gassed and somewhat ineffective as a whole of late.
The Yankees seem to value Tyler Austin as the complement to Bird from the right side of the plate (maybe they will have a platoon of sorts to help re-acclimate Bird) and believe Neil Walker (a switch-hitting bat off the bench) can fill voids across the infield (minus shortstop) if needed. If something happens to Gregorius in the short term, Gleyber Torres would likely fill in at shortstop with Walker taking second base. If a longterm ailment arose with Gregorius, Torreyes would be back in the Bronx.