While Luke Voit leads the majors in homers, the player he replaced, Greg Bird, is still trying to revive his career.
This time, Bird is with a familiar face after signing a minor league deal with the Phillies on Tuesday. It could lead to a reunion with his old manager in The Bronx, Joe Girardi.
The 27-year-old Bird was designated for assignment by the Rangers last month and became a free agent. He will report to the Phillies’ alternate site in Lehigh Valley.
Philadelphia’s interest in Bird stems from first baseman Rhys Hoskins dealing with a left elbow injury that could require season-ending surgery.
Once seen as the first baseman of the future for the Yankees, Bird’s career was derailed by injuries. He arrived in The Bronx in 2015 and hit 11 homers in 46 games after being called up in August of that season.
But that offseason, he tore the labrum in his shoulder and missed all of 2016, leading to years of bad luck and poor performance.
In 2017, he suffered ankle and foot injuries that limited him to 48 games, but he was productive during the team’s playoff run.
An ankle injury sidelined him in 2018 and Bird lost his job at first base to Voit after the Yankees traded for Voit from St. Louis in July. Last season, he played in just 10 games and spent most of the season on the injured list with plantar fasciitis.
He was designated for assignment by the Yankees following the season before signing with the Rangers in February, but he never appeared in a game — despite being called up from the Rangers’ alternate site at the end of July.
He last played on April 13, 2019.
In parts of four seasons in The Bronx, Bird hit 32 homers and had a .725 OPS over 186 games.