Yankees first baseman Greg Bird will miss the first six to eight weeks of the season after undergoing surgery Tuesday on his injured right ankle, the team announced Monday.
Bird was a late scratch before Saturday’s spring training game after complaining of soreness in his foot during batting practice. He returned to New York to visit a foot specialist and it was determined he would need surgery to remove a broken bone spur.
An injury to the same ankle—suffered when he fouled a ball off his foot in the team’s final spring training game—kept Bird out for most of 2017. He also missed the entire 2016 season with a shoulder injury.
With Bird injured, the Yankees will turn to Tyler Austin and Neil Walker to play first base. Walker was supposed to be the starter at second, which means Tyler Wade and Ronald Torreyes should see increased playing time.
New York had signed veteran first baseman Adam Lind to a minor league contract earlier this winter, though he was released on March 14. Lind, who batted .303 with an .875 OPS for the Nationals last season, remains a free agent.
The Yankees open the season on Thursday in Toronto.