Yankees to activate Greg Bird, unsure who will be sent down

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

NEW YORK -- The Yankees plan to activate first baseman Greg Bird from the disabled list before Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Angels, forcing the team to make a difficult roster decision.

Bird had right ankle surgery on March 27 and is 8-for-39 (.205) with three homers and eight RBIs over 12 games in a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment.

"We feel like he's as ready as he can be," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "Physically, timing-wise, all those things, he's in a pretty good place right now to be starting his season."

New York was back to carrying 13 pitchers, its preferred total, after activating right-hander Tommy Kahnle from the disabled list before Friday's series opener.

Fellow first basemanTyler Austin could be sent to the minors to make room for Bird. Austin is hitting .238 with eight homers and 23 RBIs. He has outproduced Neil Walker (.220, 2 HRs, 14 RBIs) but has minor league options.

Boone credited Austin on Friday with having been a key contributor to their hot start that.

"He's been an impact performer for us," Boone said. "He's a reason why we're sitting here where we are with a strong record. He's one of those guys that played a major role in that, and we expect that to continue throughout this year."

Regardless which player the Yankees send down for Bird, Boone admitted the decision -- which he and others are still deliberating -- won't be a simple one.

"A lot of times those are difficult conversations that are the reality and the nature sometimes of this business," Boone said. "And when you are a part of a really good team with a deep roster, those decisions can be even tougher and those conversations can be ever harder."

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN's Coley Harvey was used in this report.