Bird responds to accusations about his desire

Bird responds to accusations about his desire

NEW YORK -- First baseman Greg Bird responded on Friday to an anonymous Yankees insider who questioned his desire to return from his right ankle injury.

"I'm doing everything I can to get back," Bird said. "That's pretty much all I know. I love [the game] and I want to play with these guys. I would hope people see that, but obviously I've just got to take care of what I can take care of."

The comments, which were published on Friday in the New York Daily News, reveal just how frustrating Bird's injury has been -- not only for Bird, but for the Yankees. Bird has been out since the beginning of May after playing through a bone bruise, an injury he sustained when he fouled a ball off his ankle at the end of Spring Training.

"You really have to wonder what's with this guy," the insider told the Daily News. "You'd think with [Aaron Judge] and [Gary Sanchez], the guys he came up through the system with, doing so well up here, he'd want to be a part of this. Apparently not."

The comments come just days after first baseman Chris Carter was designated for assignment for the second time in less than two weeks. The Yankees are 6-16 since they were a season-high 15 games over .500 at the end of play on June 12, and their first basemen have the second-worst OPS (.668) in the Majors.

Bird is scheduled to see another doctor on Monday, but so far his lack of progress is a mystery. He continues to have tests on the ankle, and they've all turned up negative. Still, he insists he's in too much pain to play.

The accusation in the Daily News added literal insult to injury; Bird, who did not know about the comments until asked about them by a reporter, seemed taken aback by the question.

"I don't think I'd be too happy about it," said manager Joe Girardi of being accused of pretending to be too injured to play. "I'd be a little upset about someone questioning my desire and my integrity."

Holliday, Castro eye return in Boston

Both designated hitter Matt Holliday and second baseman Starlin Castro took batting practice before Friday night's game, and both are hoping to return from the disabled list in time for the Yankees' weekend series in Boston following the All-Star break.

Holliday is expected to play in two Minor League rehab games with either Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre or Double-A Trenton this weekend.

"I've gradually started to feel more like myself," said Holliday, who has been out since June 25 with a viral infection.

Holliday said the doctors were waiting on the results of two more tests, but he doesn't think any results would be serious enough to keep him off the field much longer.

Castro won't be ready to play in this weekend's series against the Brewers, which is why he was replaced by Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano on the American League All-Star team.

"We're probably going to see [Castro] sometime in Boston," Girardi said. "Probably send him on a rehab game or two before he does that."

Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.