Atlanta — Oft-injured New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird had surgery on his ailing right ankle and could be sidelined for nearly two months.
“Hopefully this is something he will now put behind him for good,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We feel pretty good that the surgery is fairly minor and they’re going to go in and correct the problem. Then he should be good to go.”
Tyler Austin, who had been slated to start the season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, will likely get the bulk of the playing time at first base in Bird’s absence. There also will be games when Neil Walker shifts over from second base to first.
Austin is looking forward to the opportunity. The 26-year-old hit consecutive home runs with Aaron Judge in their first major league plate appearances two years ago but has played a total of 51 games with the Yankees over the last two seasons, hitting .236 with seven homers and 20 RBIs.
“I’m just excited to be part of this team,” Austin said “You never want to see a guy go down. But I believe we have the pieces in here to make up for what is lost when he’s out. I think that between Neil and I, we can make some special things happen.”
Judge switches to Adidas
Yankees star Aaron Judge is switching his equipment supplier to Adidas from Under Armour.
Adidas said Tuesday it had agreed to a multiyear partnership with the AL Rookie of the Year, who set a rookie record with 52 home runs last season.
Judge came up to the major leagues with the Yankees in August 2016 and homered in his first plate appearance. He had been with Under Armour since 2014 but has been wearing Adidas equipment since the start of spring training last month.
Hughes on disabled list
Twins right-hander Phil Hughes is beginning the season on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.
Twins manager Paul Molitor said before an exhibition game against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday that the 31-year-old Hughes is “still in the mix” to pitch April 11, the first time Minnesota will need a fifth starter.
Hughes had been on track to be at the end of Minnesota’s rotation before hurting himself last week.
Marte signs $24M deal
Infielder Ketel Marte and the Diamondbacks finalized a $24 million, five-year contract, a deal that contains a pair of club options that could make the agreement worth $46 million over seven seasons.
The 24-year-old was on track to become eligible for salary arbitration next winter and for free agency after the 2022 season.