Bird has MRI, expects to return today

Bird has MRI, expects to return today

NEW YORK -- Yankees first baseman Greg Bird had a precautionary MRI on his tight lower back on Tuesday morning, and he expects to return to the lineup on Wednesday, when the Yankees will play the finale of their relocated three-game series against the Rays at Citi Field.

"As the day has progressed, it has been better, so I think that's the plan right now," Bird said. "We did quite a bit of treatment. I was just frustrated last night."

Manager Joe Girardi said that the team was waiting on the results of the MRI prior to Tuesday's game against the Rays, and that he would "probably not" use Bird off the bench. Girardi is encouraged that the 24-year-old Bird is reporting improvement.

"The thing is, he feels better today, so I think that's a pretty good sign," Girardi said.

Bird was scratched from the lineup on Monday after his back flared up during batting practice. He said that the spasms initially started bothering him prior to Sunday's 16-7 victory over the Rangers in Arlington, and returned while he was getting loose for batting practice at Citi Field.

The Yankees' Opening Day first baseman, Bird has batted just .147 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 33 games this season.

A series of foot, ankle and knee injuries kept Bird out of the big league lineup from early May until late August; in 14 games since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 26, Bird has two homers and 10 RBIs.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.