Bird sighting: Rehabbing Yankee visits club

First baseman has missed entire season due to shoulder surgery

Bird sighting: Rehabbing Yankee visits club

New York -- First baseman Greg Bird made a surprise visit to Yankee Stadium as he continues to recover from right shoulder surgery.

Bird, who tore his labrum and underwent season-ending surgery in February, took part in outfield drills and participated in live batting practice for the first time since the injury on Monday.

The 23-year-old had a locker set up in the Yankees' clubhouse and is expected to remain with the team through their current homestand before heading to instructional league -- where he will face live pitching on Sept. 26 -- and then take part in the Arizona Fall League.

Bird said he first felt the pain in his shoulder toward the end of the 2014 season, but he attempted to rehabilitate it last year before eventually opting for surgery. The youngster admitted the recovery process has been difficult, but it will ultimately make him a better player going forward.

"It's definitely something you can't prepare for at all," Bird said. "Mentally, it's been kind of challenging. You're working for something but it's hard to see.

"As I've gotten closer it's like light at the end of the tunnel. Now I'm starting to see it."

With first baseman Mark Teixeira retiring at the end of the season, Bird will likely come into camp as the front-runner to land the everyday job. The Aurora, Colo., native hit .261 with 11 home runs and 31 RBIs in 46 games last season and said his time with the ballclub this week has him excited to return to game action.

"The anticipation for me is just baseball -- getting back here, playing with these guys," Bird said. "Even just being here I'm excited. I feel at home here. So being around the team, being part of the team is really what I'm anticipating."

Bird's solo blast

A chance for Mitchell

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has yet to choose a replacement in the rotation for injured starter Chad Green, but he did say Bryan Mitchell is a possibility. Mitchell had surgery on his left big toe prior to Opening Day and began a rehab assignment in early August before being optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Aug. 24. Mitchell is 0-1 with a 4.29 ERA in six Minor League starts this season.

"We want to see consistency in his stuff," Girardi said. "He hasn't had a lot of innings since he's come back, so we want to see that consistency. His last start was better."

Girardi stated the Yankees could also go with a bullpen day on Wednesday when Green's turn in the rotation comes up.

Didi returns

After missing Sunday's finale against the Orioles nursing injuries to his left forearm and wrist, Didi Gregorius made his return to the lineup against the Blue Jays, playing shortstop and batting in the No. 5 spot.

Gregorius was hit by a 95-mph Kevin Gausman fastball in the fourth inning of the Yankees' loss to the Orioles on Saturday evening.

"He's better today," manager Joe Girardi said.

Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Yankees on Monday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.