Greg Bird gets day off against lefty

Greg Bird had a solid game in his return from injury on Saturday, posting a single and a pair of walks.

But the 24-year-old first baseman was out of the Yankees’ lineup a day later, with the Mariners starting lefty Andrew Albers.

Bird ultimately came on as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and delivered a two-run single in the Bombers’ 10-1 victory over Seattle at Yankee Stadium.

“If I’m going to give Birdie a day off, it’s going to be against a left-hander,” Joe Girardi said before the game. “And you’re going to say he’s been here one day. Well, he’s played the last six days in a row (counting Triple-A Scranton). So I’m going to give him today. We’re facing righties against Cleveland. He’s going to continue to play, and I’ve got to make sure you don’t overdo it too much and he ends up hurting something.”

The Yankees need dynamic bats in their lineup. If healthy, Bird (ankle) has the potential to be one. Gary Sanchez has posted 11 homers in August, but Aaron Judge was hitting just .176/.333/.345 in the second half entering Sunday. Judge went 1-for-3 with a double, two walks and a run scored.

“When he’s right, I don’t worry about him really against anyone,” Girardi said of Bird. “There’s obviously going to be some lefties that you’re going to pick a day for him, but from what we’ve seen when he’s going right, he’s pretty much an everyday player.”

Switch-hitter Chase Headley, who was hitting .321/.394/.493 in the second half entering Sunday, was at first. Todd Frazier was at third.

Girardi told Bird to stay prepared in case the manager needed him later in the game. Clearly, Bird was ready.


The Yankees want to ease Starlin Castro back into a normal workload.

The Yankees want to ease Starlin Castro back into a normal workload.

(Adam Hunger/AP)

Starlin Castro (hamstring) was at DH on Sunday, and recorded a career-high tying four hits. Joe Girardi said he’ll probably get a complete day off in the Indians series. The Yankees want to make sure the All-Star second baseman’s legs are right. … Brett Gardner got the day off to rest, compounded with a lefty on the mound. … Girardi wants to keep Jacoby Ellsbury involved. Ellsbury, who has made just four starts since Aug. 15, hit a three-run homer in Saturday’s win. The $ 153 million outfielder added two hits and two RBIs on Sunday. … Ronald Torreyes had three hits on Sunday and is 9-for-14 over his last four games. … The Yankees are 9-4 in their last 13 games. In exactly one week, they’ve trimmed Boston’s AL East lead from 5.0 to 2.5 games.

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