Ready To Fly? Bird Is The Word

CHARLESTON, SC — In his first full season, 20-year old Greg Bird has been a standout hitter on the RiverDogs roster. The left-handed slugger admits he is ready to get his name called up, but knows that the decision isn't up to him.

Playing first base for the first time in his life, Bird knew defense would be his biggest challenge. The 215-pound player acknowledged the improvements he needed to make within his game before he was fully prepared for the next minor league level.

"I just need to stay fresh longer," Bird said. "It is a grind and coming into next year I will know more of what to expect and how to respond to that.

"It is all a learning process. The long season coming into it and knowing what to expect I think will be a key factor for me."

So far this year Bird has hit a whopping 19 home runs, posted 79 RBIs and has a batting average of .288. He has also had over 50 extra base hits and is now coming close to reaching 100 walks.

"I am very happy," Bird commented. "But you can always get better and there is room to improve so I am going to keep working really hard to get better.

"I didn't have any specific goals coming into this season. I just wanted to go out and stick to my plan, my approach and let it go from there. Ultimately, it has gone well for me."

This humble attitude about his game has led him to gain his own cheering section at the Joseph P. Riley Jr. ballpark in Charleston. Bird isn't just a notable hitter for the RiverDogs, but an actual nice guy.

The work ethic that Bird possesses has been seen both on and off the field. Most importantly it has impressed both of his coaches, RiverDogs manager Al Pedrique and hitting coach P.J. Pilittere.

Pedrique gives credit to how Bird entered Spring Training and thinks that it is the reason he has been playing so well this year.

"He has done a great job," Pedrique said. "Because from where he started the season with Spring Training and up to this point, definitely he has shown a lot of improvement both defensively and offensively.

"He is a great kid, a hard worker and everyday he comes to the park wanting to learn something. He is always asking me questions about defense, which he still has to improve but at least we have seen signs that he getting better."

Bird's strong desire for his game to advance has been the key advantage over other hitters within the Southern Atlantic League as well as on the RiverDogs. Bird was ranks number one on the RiverDogs roster for home runs and third in the South Atlantic League in RBIs.

"I think I have had a good season so far," Bird declared. "I have stayed healthy which was a huge goal for me. It has allowed me to put up good numbers for my team."

RiverDogs' hitting coach P.J. Pilittere has enjoyed working with Bird and has only positive things to say about his big hitter, even when inquired about what Bird needs to do to get ready for the next level.

"I mean I think he just needs to keep doing what he is doing," Pilittere remarked. "I think the development and moving from level to level will take its course and will naturally happen.

"Bird would probably tell you that he wants to get a little sharper on defense. He would say he wants to work on his footwork and his range and his ground ball technique. But that will all come because he is a smart-headed type player and takes a lot of pride in what he does."

This is Bird's first year playing first base and he has had his share of struggles with the new transition. Yet, still in his mind he is ready to move up to the next level if warranted by the Yankees organization.

"Yeah I think so," Bird said. "But it is not up to me so I try not to let that creep into my mind too much. I just need to go out there, play and let that take care of itself. I am happy here it has been a good first season and I am looking to finish the season strong here.

"It goes back to the grind thing. At the beginning of August I felt a little worn down and beat. But this last week or two I have felt a lot better. That is key for me, I just have been telling myself finish strong and have a good last month and go into the offseason on a good note."

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\r\n \r\n\r\nPlaying first base for the first time in his life, Bird knew defense would be his biggest challenge. The 215-pound player acknowledged the improvements he needed to make within his game before he was fully prepared for the next minor league level.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just need to stay fresh longer,\" Bird said. \"It is a grind and coming into next year I will know more of what to expect and how to respond to that.
\r\n
\r\n\"It is all a learning process. The long season coming into it and knowing what to expect I think will be a key factor for me.\"
\r\n
\r\nSo far this year Bird has hit a whopping 19 home runs, posted 79 RBIs and has a batting average of .288. He has also had over 50 extra base hits and is now coming close to reaching 100 walks.
\r\n
\r\n\"I am very happy,\" Bird commented. \"But you can always get better and there is room to improve so I am going to keep working really hard to get better.
\r\n
\r\n\"I didn't have any specific goals coming into this season. I just wanted to go out and stick to my plan, my approach and let it go from there. Ultimately, it has gone well for me.\"
\r\n
\r\nThis humble attitude about his game has led him to gain his own cheering section at the Joseph P. Riley Jr. ballpark in Charleston. Bird isn't just a notable hitter for the RiverDogs, but an actual nice guy.
\r\n
\r\nThe work ethic that Bird possesses has been seen both on and off the field. Most importantly it has impressed both of his coaches, RiverDogs manager Al Pedrique and hitting coach P.J. Pilittere.
\r\n
\r\nPedrique gives credit to how Bird entered Spring Training and thinks that it is the reason he has been playing so well this year.
\r\n
\r\n\"He has done a great job,\" Pedrique said. \"Because from where he started the season with Spring Training and up to this point, definitely he has shown a lot of improvement both defensively and offensively.
\r\n
\r\n\"He is a great kid, a hard worker and everyday he comes to the park wanting to learn something. He is always asking me questions about defense, which he still has to improve but at least we have seen signs that he getting better.\"
\r\n
\r\nBird's strong desire for his game to advance has been the key advantage over other hitters within the Southern Atlantic League as well as on the RiverDogs. Bird was ranks number one on the RiverDogs roster for home runs and third in the South Atlantic League in RBIs.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think I have had a good season so far,\" Bird declared. \"I have stayed healthy which was a huge goal for me. It has allowed me to put up good numbers for my team.\"
\r\n
\r\nRiverDogs' hitting coach P.J. Pilittere has enjoyed working with Bird and has only positive things to say about his big hitter, even when inquired about what Bird needs to do to get ready for the next level.
\r\n
\r\n\"I mean I think he just needs to keep doing what he is doing,\" Pilittere remarked. \"I think the development and moving from level to level will take its course and will naturally happen.
\r\n
\r\n\"Bird would probably tell you that he wants to get a little sharper on defense. He would say he wants to work on his footwork and his range and his ground ball technique. But that will all come because he is a smart-headed type player and takes a lot of pride in what he does.\"
\r\n
\r\nThis is Bird's first year playing first base and he has had his share of struggles with the new transition. Yet, still in his mind he is ready to move up to the next level if warranted by the Yankees organization.
\r\n
\r\n\"Yeah I think so,\" Bird said. \"But it is not up to me so I try not to let that creep into my mind too much. I just need to go out there, play and let that take care of itself. I am happy here it has been a good first season and I am looking to finish the season strong here.
\r\n
\r\n\"It goes back to the grind thing. At the beginning of August I felt a little worn down and beat. But this last week or two I have felt a lot better. That is key for me, I just have been telling myself finish strong and have a good last month and go into the offseason on a good note.\"
\r\n
\r\n

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

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\r\n

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