NEW YORK (AP) — The latest addition to the Yankees’ injured list is all too familiar with life on the shelf.
First baseman Greg Bird went on the 10-day injured list Tuesday with a left plantar fascia tear, giving New York a dozen players on the IL less than three weeks into the season.
The Yankees announced the move before the opener of a two-game series with the Boston Red Sox. Bird will be in a boot for 10 to 14 days before being re-evaluated, and manager Aaron Boone expects the left-handed hitter will miss at least a month. Breakout slugger Luke Voit will get most of the reps at first base in the meantime.
It’s the fourth straight year Bird has been injured early in the season, including when he missed all of 2016 following right shoulder surgery. He has never played more than 82 games in a year, missing much of the past two seasons due to issues with his right ankle.
Boone isn’t certain when this injury occurred. Bird sought treatment before Saturday’s 4-0 victory over the White Sox, but played through it before taking a scheduled day off Sunday. The IL move is retroactive to then.
Bird is batting .171 with one homer and a .550 OPS this season. Since playing 46 excellent games as a rookie in 2015, Bird is hitting .194 with 21 homers and a .657 OPS over 140 games.
“I think unfortunately it is a little bit a story so far of not being really healthy,” Boone said. “He’s dealt with different ailments, even at different times when he’s been able to play through things, I think it has to a degree held him back a little bit.
“I still fully believe that he could be an impact hitter in this league. But you have to stay healthy to be able to do that.”
More than half of New York’s starting lineup was already on the IL. Catcher Gary Sánchez (left calf strain) went down late last week, joining outfielders Giancarlo Stanton (strained left biceps) and Aaron Hicks (left lower back strain), shortstop Didi Gregorius (recovering from Tommy John surgery last October), third baseman Miguel Andújar (torn labrum in right shoulder) and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (strained left calf).
Hicks ran and threw on the field Tuesday and said he feels good. He’s still working his way up to a minor league rehab assignment.
Left-hander CC Sabathia came off the IL Saturday and pitched New York past the White Sox. That’s the Yankees’ only victory in their past six games, dropping them to 6-9 a year after winning 100 games.
“The point I want to drive home is we’re capable of winning games despite being depleted right now,” Boone said. “That expectation doesn’t change.”
New York called up first baseman Mike Ford from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and transferred outfielder Jacob Ellsbury to the 60-day injured list.
It’s the first big league call-up for Ford, a Yankees fan from New Jersey who played college ball at Princeton. The 26-year-old has played seven seasons and 572 games in the minor leagues.
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