BALTIMORE — Greg Bird wouldn’t use his sore right ankle as an alibi for his slow start at the plate, but it did keep him out of the starting lineup Saturday.
The first baseman fouled a ball off the foot March 30 in Clearwater, Florida, in an exhibition game against the Phillies, and it’s bothered him to some degree since.
“I was feeling better and it just kind of re-swelled up [after Friday night’s game],” Bird said in the clubhouse Saturday afternoon. “It’s disappointing, but take care of it now so it’s not a problem down the road.”
Bird had an X-ray that came back negative, the reason general manager Brian Cashman said his concern level is “low.”
“Hope it stays that way,” Cashman said.
Bird was to receive a CT scan, but after he saw an Orioles team physician Saturday afternoon, that was deemed unnecessary.
With a lefthander on the mound Sunday for the Orioles, Bird was slated to have the day off anyway, so this will give him, in essence, two days off. His expectation is that he’ll be back in the lineup for Monday’s home opener against the Rays. Bird said he would be ready to pinch hit Saturday if the need arose.
After producing a .451/.556/1.098 slash line in spring training, Bird was 1-for-16 entering Saturday’s game. Joe Girardi did not discount the possibility that the foot issue had an impact.
“Obviously, it can affect you if your legs don’t feel sturdy and strong underneath you,” Girardi said. “He came in today and said it was bothering him, so we gave him the day off.”
Bird wasn’t having any of it.
“When you’re in the lineup, you’re competing, so I don’t think so,” he said. “I’m in the lineup and I’m competing. When you’re on the field, you’re playing, so I make no excuses. Like I said, take care of it now so that down the road, it’s not an issue.”