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Slumping Greg Bird dropped from third to sixth to seventh in order

Greg Bird #33 of the New York Yankees

Greg Bird #33 of the New York Yankees reacts after a strike during his at-bat in the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, April 13, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Greg Bird’s standout spring training convinced the Yankees that he was capable of handling batting third.

But after a four-game absence because of swelling in his right foot and a stomach virus, he hit sixth Thursday night against the Rays and seventh Friday night against the Cardinals. He went 0-for-3, extending his hitless streak to 17 at-bats, and fell to 1-for-23 overall. He has a .043/.154/.087 slash line.

Bird had a .451/.556/1.098 slash line with eight homers in spring training.

“You just keep running him out there. That will get him back on track,” Joe Girardi said. “I’ve always said it’s hard to predict what spring training means. Just get him out there, get him consistent at-bats and we believe he’s going to hit.”

Down goes Hicks

One night after hitting two homers, Aaron Hicks was on the bench Friday night.

Referring to being tempted to put Hicks in when that wasn’t his original plan, Girardi said, “What you’re trying to do then is you’re trying to play like you know what’s going to happen every day. He’ll probably get a couple days this weekend, so he will be back in there.”

Sanchez coming along

Gary Sanchez, on the disabled list since April 8 with a strain of the brachialis muscle in his right arm, likely won’t begin baseball activities until at least the middle of the week.

“He’s doing a lot of exercises, getting treatment,” Girardi said. “He was in the pool today doing some light swings. We’ll evaluate him after 10 days, and sometime between that 10 days and two-week period, he’ll probably start throwing.”

Extra bases

Didi Gregorius (right shoulder strain) is throwing at 120 feet and is on schedule to return by early May, Girardi said . . . The Cardinals’ visit to the Bronx this weekend leaves the Padres as the only team to never play at the current Yankee Stadium.

New York Sports