The real fear behind this Greg Bird scare

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The New York Yankees announced Monday afternoon that Greg Bird will be out for six to eight weeks after having ankle surgery Tuesday.

The surgery will be performed by Dr. Martin O'Malley, a foot and ankle specialist, at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

This, of course, is the same ankle that Bird had operated on past year, the one that sidelined him for all but 48 games. However, the 25-year-old batted.154 with one home run in 52 spring training at-bats.

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The real question now is how the Yankees will fare without the 25-year-old first baseman. Bird was slated to be the Yankees' Opening Day 1st baseman, in what could be called the official beginning of his career as an elite left-handed power hitter. The goal is to have him back by late May or early June, but the Yankees should be prepared for worse. Walker was supposed to be the starter at second, which means Tyler Wade and Ronald Torreyes should see increased playing time.

Bird was supposed to go off in 2018, with scouts predicting he could post 30-plus homers hitting between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the No. 3 hole of Murderers' Row 2.0. There's also the versatile Brandon Drury, though NY prefers to station him at third base. Yet another injury has been placed upon Greg Bird and it looks like he will be missing a substantial amount of time.

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Batting sluggers in the leadoff role is a trend that has emerged in recent years, with the Houston Astros' George Springer, Colorado Rockies' Charlie Blackmon and Minnesota Twins' Brian Dozier among the names that had great success in doing so last year.

"I'll be ready Thursday for sure", Brandon Drury said. He did well in a small sample size, slashing.261/.343/.529 with 11 home runs and 31 RBI in 178 plate appearances.

However, some would argue this year the Yankees don't need Bird as much. That will be the case in the season opener against the Toronto left-hander J.A. Happ.

If Walker and Austin can't get the job done, the Yankees have a few other in-house options, though they're not as desirable. Billy McKinney, another neophyte at first after converting from the outfield, also showed off his power this spring.

This pre-season, I believe just about everyone in the sports world is going to agree in their predictions, that the New York Yankees are the team to beat, and will have number one Vegas odds of winning it all next fall.

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