Bird Brings Advanced Approach

Heading into his first season with the Charleston RiverDogs, 20-year old Greg Bird is optimistic about going into the 2013 year and a big reason why is his approach at the plate.

Coming out of Grandview High School in Aurora, Colorado, Bird batted .553, recorded 12 home runs and collected 38 RBIs. The Yankees selected the left-handed hitter in the fifth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

Bird focused hard during Spring Training this year, knowing that it would help him with his game throughout the entire season.

"I worked on getting stronger," Bird said. "My goal was to have a consistent Spring Training so I could be healthy for every game."

Previously Bird had played catcher but has now transitioned to first base, a change he says was not difficult for him.

"Since I was a catcher before, I needed to make changes to the way I played the game," Bird explained. "First base isn't completely new to me though, I've played it before.

"Although it definitely changed the way I worked out in Spring Training. But now I feel even more comfortable at playing first base."

Hitting coach P.J. Pilittere worked with Bird during Spring Training, most importantly focusing on his strengthening his legs.

"Specifically just staying on his legs by making sure he uses them as a source for power as opposed to his arms and upper body," Pilittere said. "I've been fortunate enough to be around Bird for most of his career as a Yankee. He is consistent, a key to becoming a great player.

"Bird is a professional in the way he goes about his business. Most importantly, he is really mature for his age when it comes to his hitting approach."

The now first baseman says he wanted to come into this year in good shape. This is something he has been carrying out into the season. But Bird still knows there are aspects of his game he needs to continue to work on.

"Defensively I just needed to work on getting the reps at first base," stated the 215-pounder. "Offensively I need to continue to progress on my approach."

According to Pilittere, the fifth round draft pick is very poised.

"He (Bird) is pretty wise beyond his years. Greg doesn't really change much whether he has a good or bad day," Pilittere stated. "He has a pretty good feel about how to go about his business on a daily basis, and that really impresses me."

The 6-foot-3 lefty has already hit a home run and collected eight RBIs for the 2013 season. He is excited about playing in Charleston, but most importantly convinced that the way he begun the season will translate into him having a successful year.

"I was really looking forward to playing my first full season here," Bird remarked. "The first home game was awesome, I love the atmosphere, I really don't have any complaints."

Bird has high expectations as the season progresses.

"I need to drive the ball at all fields," Bird acknowledged. "If I keep progressing and never stop I know I will be successful."

The Colorado native has confidence in his ability to play at first base. Bird takes his job seriously but knows that he must take everything in stride.

"By doing my job, I know I can help my team win," Bird exclaimed. "As a player if you put too much pressure on yourself bad things happen."

Although he has transformed from playing catcher to first baseman, his outlook on the game hasn't changed.

"Go out and have fun," the athlete affirmed. "The numbers and all that will take care of itself."

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nComing out of Grandview High School in Aurora, Colorado, Bird batted .553, recorded 12 home runs and collected 38 RBIs. The Yankees selected the left-handed hitter in the fifth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
\r\n
\r\nBird focused hard during Spring Training this year, knowing that it would help him with his game throughout the entire season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I worked on getting stronger,\" Bird said. \"My goal was to have a consistent Spring Training so I could be healthy for every game.\"
\r\n
\r\nPreviously Bird had played catcher but has now transitioned to first base, a change he says was not difficult for him.
\r\n
\r\n\"Since I was a catcher before, I needed to make changes to the way I played the game,\" Bird explained. \"First base isn't completely new to me though, I've played it before.
\r\n
\r\n\"Although it definitely changed the way I worked out in Spring Training. But now I feel even more comfortable at playing first base.\"
\r\n
\r\nHitting coach P.J. Pilittere worked with Bird during Spring Training, most importantly focusing on his strengthening his legs.
\r\n
\r\n\"Specifically just staying on his legs by making sure he uses them as a source for power as opposed to his arms and upper body,\" Pilittere said. \"I've been fortunate enough to be around Bird for most of his career as a Yankee. He is consistent, a key to becoming a great player.
\r\n
\r\n\"Bird is a professional in the way he goes about his business. Most importantly, he is really mature for his age when it comes to his hitting approach.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe now first baseman says he wanted to come into this year in good shape. This is something he has been carrying out into the season. But Bird still knows there are aspects of his game he needs to continue to work on.
\r\n
\r\n\"Defensively I just needed to work on getting the reps at first base,\" stated the 215-pounder. \"Offensively I need to continue to progress on my approach.\"
\r\n
\r\nAccording to Pilittere, the fifth round draft pick is very poised.
\r\n
\r\n\"He (Bird) is pretty wise beyond his years. Greg doesn't really change much whether he has a good or bad day,\" Pilittere stated. \"He has a pretty good feel about how to go about his business on a daily basis, and that really impresses me.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe 6-foot-3 lefty has already hit a home run and collected eight RBIs for the 2013 season. He is excited about playing in Charleston, but most importantly convinced that the way he begun the season will translate into him having a successful year.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was really looking forward to playing my first full season here,\" Bird remarked. \"The first home game was awesome, I love the atmosphere, I really don't have any complaints.\"
\r\n
\r\nBird has high expectations as the season progresses.
\r\n
\r\n\"I need to drive the ball at all fields,\" Bird acknowledged. \"If I keep progressing and never stop I know I will be successful.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe Colorado native has confidence in his ability to play at first base. Bird takes his job seriously but knows that he must take everything in stride.
\r\n
\r\n\"By doing my job, I know I can help my team win,\" Bird exclaimed. \"As a player if you put too much pressure on yourself bad things happen.\"
\r\n
\r\nAlthough he has transformed from playing catcher to first baseman, his outlook on the game hasn't changed.
\r\n
\r\n\"Go out and have fun,\" the athlete affirmed. \"The numbers and all that will take care of itself.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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