Greg Bird elects free agency after clearing waivers

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

NEW YORK -- It's Bye Bye Birdie for the New York Yankees.

First baseman Greg Bird became a free agent Friday after he cleared waivers and refused an outright assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Bird, who turned 27 on Nov. 9, debuted on Aug. 13, 2015, and hit .261 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs in 46 games. He missed all of 2016 following surgery that Feb. 2 to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, an injury originally sustained that May with Double-A Trenton.

Bird returned to bat .451 with eight homers in spring training during 2017 but fouled a ball off his right ankle March 30, started the season 6 for 60 and went on the disabled list May 2.

When the foot did not improve, Bird had surgery July 18 to remove a bone in the ankle. He returned in late August and hit three home runs in the playoffs, including a seventh-inning drive off Andrew Miller that lifted New York to a 1-0 win over Cleveland in Game 3 of the Division Series.

He slumped to a .154 average with four RBI during spring training in 2018 and had surgery March 27 to remove a broken bone spur from the outside of the ankle. Bird returned May 26 and hit just .199 with 11 homers and 38 RBI, losing the first-base job to Luke Voit.

Eligible for arbitration for the first time in 2019, he had a $1.2 million salary. Bird went on the injured list with a left plantar fascia tear on April 16, three days after what turned out to be his final game. He hit .171 in 10 games with one RBI, an opening-day home run off Baltimore's Paul Fry.