Greg Bird doesn’t have a specific date yet for his anticipated return from the DL, but he does have a week in mind.
“I’m hoping sometime next week,” the first baseman said Tuesday.
Bird, on the DL since May 2 with a right ankle injury that eventually required surgery, is slated to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he will start games at both DH and at first base. He said the number of total games hasn’t been determined, but the 24-year-old speculated on a possible return at some point during next week’s series in Detroit, which starts Tuesday night.
“I’m ready,” said Bird, who suffered the bone bruise March 30 and was limited to just 19 games in April, going 6-for-60 with one homer in that stretch. “I’m right where I need to be. I’m just excited to play and I’m ready to play.”
Joe Girardi wasn’t quite ready to endorse Bird’s timeline but didn’t dismiss it, either.
“I think it’s a guy that needs to go play,” Girardi said, “but he has looked really good, and I am excited to see him get going because . . . I know it’s BP and it’s just infield work, but he has looked really good. Let’s hope his rehab goes fairly quickly.”
When he returns, will Bird be the everyday first baseman?
“We’ll worry about that when we get there,” Girardi said.
The Yankees placed righthander Luis Cessa, forced from Tuesday’s game after 4 1⁄3 innings, on the DL with a rib cage injury. Girardi said his hope is CC Sabathia, on the DL with right knee inflammation, will “be ready by that time his [Cessa’s] turn comes up again.”
Sabathia threw a bullpen Tuesday and is slated to throw another one Thursday. “We thought his bullpen went really well yesterday,” Girardi said.
Before batting practice, professional wrestlers Braun Stroman, Big Cass and Alexa Bliss presented Aaron Judge with a WWE title belt for winning last month’s Home Run Derby.