Bird will have “a small broken spur” removed from his ankle, according to the release. He first expressed discomfort with his ankle on Saturday during the Yankees’ split-squad game against the Braves. But, this injury news is a huge blow to the 25-year-old and the Yankees.
This will be the second time Bird will have surgery on his right ankle after he needed surgery on it last July. He wound up playing only 48 regular-season games, only slashing .190/.288/.422 while hitting nine home runs and driving in 28 runs. It is also the third year in a row he will miss significant time after he sat out all of 2016 recovering from surgery to repair his right shoulder.
Bird, who broke into the big leagues in 2015 and hit .261/.343/.529 in 46 games, slashed only 154/.267/.231 in 18 Grapefruit League contests this spring. However, the Yankees were looking to him to be their everyday man at first.
With Bird out, Tyler Austin and recent free-agent signee Neil Walker are the favorites to see time at first.