The rookie first baseman hit .261 with eleven home runs in just 46 games for the Yankees in his debut season last year after hitting a combined .277 with 12 home runs between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton. And just when it appeared the Yankees finally had a homegrown position player they could count on it was learned in the offseason that Bird needed shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Mark J. Rebilas / USA TODAY Sports
Greg Bird is rehabbing his way back from shoulder surgery and feeling good thus far.
"I missed time last year with [the injury]," he said. "I missed May so it's been going on for a while.
"We were rehabbing the whole offseason so I was hoping it wouldn't happen but it didn't really ever get better so we went ahead with the surgery."
He had the surgery on February 2nd and the news, while devastating to the team and its fans, was equally hard on Bird himself.
"Extremely," he admitted, "but I realize it's part of [the game] and now it's just about getting back and being healthy. I just feel that it was going on for such a long time that now it's on the road to recovery. That'll be nice."
Playing through the shoulder pain for some time, in hindsight it is remarkable that Bird had the success he had despite playing with the injury. While it would seem he was robbed of potentially doing more had he been healthier the entire time Bird himself doesn't look at it that way.
"Baseball is dealing with adjustments and adversity, dealing with what you've got," he said. "Everyone is dealing with something all year so for me it was a learning experience. I think it will serve me well in the future. I'm excited to get going again and healthy again."
He had the surgery nearly two months ago and he's been slowly rehabbing his way back over the past few weeks. Not even remotely close to resuming baseball activities yet, he says he can already feel in a difference since the surgery.
"Really good. I'm [eight] weeks out now and I'm moving well as far as normal day to day stuff. I'd say it's pretty good, I can't complain.
"I'm rehabbing. It's still not anything too crazy, just basic shoulder stuff, still getting the range of motion back. As far as day to day activity goes though everything is good."
There is no estimated timetable for his resumption of baseball activities or even lifting at this point and Bird isn't looking to push the issue either. He simply wants to follow the doctor's orders and do exactly what is asked of him to ensure that this latest setback doesn't pop up again down the road.
"I went to visit the doctor [two weeks ago] and his word goes," he admitted. "I'm doing whatever he says and at the moment we're doing the regular rehab and we're sticking with that.
"He told me I'm out [the whole year] so I'm out. Whatever he says goes, it's not really something to mess with. His word goes."
He plans on sticking to the rehabbing plan and he believes by doing so he can pick up right where he left off last season and be the same kind of hitter he was before the injury.
"[I'm] confident, I'll be fine. I'm in good hands here and I have no doubt that I'll be just fine.
"[Getting to the big leagues is] what you work on for your whole life. I was ready to get back at it this year and get after it again. I have a little bump in the road but I'm still hungry, still itching, and it's just a little obstacle I have to work through," he concluded.
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