Greg Bird missed his third straight game Wednesday. Bird, who has been sidelined since Monday with back spasms, had hoped to play in Wednesday’s afternoon game against the Rays at Citi Field.
Joe Girardi said he decided to take a cautionary approach and leave Bird out of the lineup.
“I was under the thought it would be a couple days,” Girardi said before the Yankees’ 3-2 win over the Rays. “Back spasms, it’s usually more than one day from my experience with them.”
Girardi hopes Bird can return to the lineup Friday against the Orioles.
The Yankees 24-year-old first baseman — who has missed most of the last two seasons due to injury — got a precautionary MRI on his back Tuesday that came back normal.
Despite Bird’s inability to stay healthy, Girardi said he still envisions Bird being a key piece of the Yankees’ young core moving forward.
“I still think that he’s an everyday first baseman that could have a big impact, but obviously you’ve got to stay on the field,” Girardi said. “That’s first and foremost, you’ve got to be able to stay healthy. But I think when we’ve seen him healthy, we’ve seen him be productive.”
After getting off to a scorching start in his return off of the disabled list, hitting six-for-18 with 9 RBI in his first six games, Bird has cooled off considerably since, batting just .125 in his last eight games.
A WILD QUESTION
Despite Luis Severino leading the Yankees in wins (12), ERA (2.96) and strikeouts (211), Girardi is not yet ready to name the 23-year-old All-Star the team’s de-facto starter in a potential wild card game.
“Let’s worry about this,” Girardi said, referencing Wednesday’s game. “Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.”
Girardi earlier said he knows he must be “realistic” when it comes to potential postseason matchups, but was quick to point out the Yankees are still very much in contention with the Red Sox to win the AL East.
“One good week for us and one bad week for them, and all of a sudden it’s a really close race,” Girardi said.
The Yankees trail the Red Sox by 3.5 games heading into Boston’s Wednesday night game against the A’s.
GREEN WITH ENVY
Girardi recognizes righthander Chad Green has been one of the team’s most reliable relief pitchers, but due to sheer number of quality relievers in the bullpen, Girardi doesn’t envision a role change for Green in the near future.
“I think with the bullpen we have, it’s a good role for him,” Girardi said of Green, who typically throws two-to-three innings when he comes in to pitch. “Had we not have so much depth in the seventh, eighth inning, you might think about it different.”
Green pitched 1.1 scoreless innings Wednesday, including striking out the side in the sixth. He has a 1.96 ERA with 99 in 64.1 innings pitched this season.
The Yankees will recognize the 10-year anniversary of the Giants’ 2007 Super Bowl win over the Patriots prior to the Yankees’ upcoming game against the Orioles Saturday, Sept. 16. More than 40 members of the 2007 Giants team will be in attendance and four of the team’s captains – Antonio Pierce, David Tyree, Shaun O’Hara and Jeff Feagles – will throw out ceremonial first pitches.
Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday were both given the day off Wednesday. Both hitters were available to pinch-hit, if needed. …Girardi said David Robertson was unavailable to pitch Wednesday. Robertson threw 2.2 innings in the Yankees’ 5-1 win on Monday.