TRENTON – After playing in three rehab games over the weekend with the Tampa Tarpons of the Florida State League, both first baseman Greg Bird and outfielder Billy McKinney had their rehab assignments transferred to Trenton on Monday.
Manager Jay Bell announced that both Bird and McKinney would remain with the Thunder for the length of their seven game home stand beginning Monday night at ARM & HAMMER Park. Bird was scheduled to play seven innings in the series opener against the Akron RubberDucks while batting third and playing first base. McKinney was slated to play all nine innings in left field while batting in front of Bird in the two-hole.
Neither Bird or McKinney is scheduled to play on Wednesday morning when the Thunder and Akron close out their three-game set with a 10:30 A.M. start time.
The 25-year old Bird was placed on the disabled list in late-March after undergoing right ankle surgery to remove a small bone spur on the outside on his ankle; essentially the same procedure that he underwent a year prior. Once a top-prospect, Bird has been limited to just 348 plate appearances over 94 big league games since making his debut in 2015. Over that limited sample, he has slashed just .227/.316/.477 with 20 homers and 59 RBI.
In three games with Tampa, Bird had gone 2-for-8 (.250) with two RBI and a run scores. He also drew three walks and struck out twice.
“It is good to be back in games, and get my feet back under me,” Bird said. “All in all, last week (in Tampa) was a good week, and I am just looking forward to carrying that over into this week, and getting more reps and more playing time.”
The 23-year old McKinney made his major league debut in April and received just four at-bats before he was forced to exit in just his second game after crashing into the wall in Toronto. The Yankees placed McKinney on the DL with a sprained left AC joint, though X-rays revealed no structural damage.
In his three games with Tampa, McKinney had gone 2-for-8 (.250) with three RBI, including a double, with four walks and a run scored.
“I am feeling pretty good,” McKinney said. “It has been a long process, but I am excited to get back. I am just taking it day to day, and just trying to do better and feel better.”