Greg Bird's huge night could signal end to slump
The Yankees 1B crushed his first HR of 2017 and added a double Sunday night
After an incendiary spring training performance, New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird has not yet managed to carry over his hot bat into the regular season, but Sunday night may have marked a turning point for the 24-year-old.
Bird opened up his first full MLB regular season with one base hit in his first 26 at-bats prior to Sunday's series finale against St. Louis, but as the Yankees cruised to their seventh straight victory, Bird flashed the swing that delivered eight round-trippers in 23 spring training games - tied for the most in the Majors this spring.
In four trips to the plate Sunday, Bird reached base four times. He sent the first pitch he saw from Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright over 400 feet into the right field bleachers, then followed it up with a hard-hit double, a walk and a single for good measure.
Sunday marked Bird's ninth multi-hit game in his MLB career, with the first eight coming at the tail-end of the 2015 season, before the lefty slugger sat out the entire 2016 season with a torn labrum.
"My timing was messed up and I was really trying hard to find that," Bird said after Sunday night's game. "I'm a big feel guy. Today in the cage I really started to feel connected with my lower half, and that was nice."
Bird's smooth upper-cut swing from the left side seems too well-suited for Yankee Stadium for him to keep struggling at the plate, and the Yankees hope that there's plenty more production from where Sunday's blistering performance came from for the Bombers' first baseman of the future.
Only time will tell if Sunday's bounce-back performance was an outlier amid Bird's difficult start to the 2017 season, or if he's finally settled in after a year-long layoff from MLB competition.
Check out MLB Statcast™'s in-depth breakdown of Bird's monster blast Sunday night, and tune in as the Yankees look to make it eight in a row Monday night at Yankee Stadium against the visiting White Sox.