Greg Bird’s baseball career isn’t finished yet.
The former Yankees first baseman is close to securing a spot on the Rockies’ Opening Day roster.
Bird, who spent the first five seasons of his MLB career in New York, was a non-roster invitee to Colorado’s spring training ahead of the 2021 season. He helped the Rockies to a 2-1 win over the Mariners Saturday with a walkoff homer.
“It’s definitely a younger group. And I enjoy that,” the 28-year-old Bird told reporters. “It’s fun to share experiences with each other and build off that.”
If Bird can continue his strong spring, he could end up with a bench role and getting time at first base behind C.J. Cron.
After a slew of injuries derailed his career with the Yankees, Bird signed minor-league contract with the Rangers and then the Phillies during the 2020 season. With the Rangers, Bird was recalled in July 2020 but suffered an ankle injury before he could appear in a game and was designated for assignment in August. He elected free agency after being outrighted to the minors.
“It’s all I’ve ever known,” Bird told 9 News in Colorado last month. “This is all I’ve wanted to do. There has definitely been low times where it’s been difficult I would say. It’s been a unique career. But all that aside, you learn a lot going through tough times. You learn to persevere, you learn patience, you learn a lot of traits that are not only going to help me in baseball, but in life.
“Really just growing up. And when you grow up under a spotlight, you learn quick. You get tossed to the wolves. For me, I feel like I’ve made strides in a lot of different areas in my life. My mentality. I think it will serve me well this year. I’m just really working forward to showing the work that I’ve put in to be back in this position and doing it with a good group of guys that enjoy playing ball, too.”
Bird was once thought to be a major part of the Yankees’ future after he bat .261 with 11 homers over 46 games as a rookie in 2015, when he filled in for injured starter Mark Teixeira. But after undergoing surgery to repair a shoulder labrum tear in 2016, Bird struggled to stay healthy.
He ultimately lost his job to Luke Voit before parting ways with the franchise.