The debate as to who will get the start at first base for the Yankees on Opening Day finally comes to an end, as manager Aaron Boone told the media Greg Bird is getting the nod.
But this move doesn't mean Luke Voit isn't taking a seat on the bench. He will serve as the designated hitter for the Yankees against the Orioles, while Boone sees him getting the start on Friday.
Boone also unveiled the rest of the starters for Opening Day, though he wouldn't reveal where they will hit in the lineup. Here are the other starters...
- Aaron Judge, RF
- Giancarlo Stanton, LF
- Gary Sanchez, C
- Miguel Andujar, 3B
- Troy Tulowitzki, SS
- Gleyber Torres, 2B
- Brett Gardner, CF
GM Brian Cashman noted earlier this spring that he didn't expect the team to carry both first basemen, but after they both saw much success at the plate, it was hard for the Yanks not to bring them both north to the Bronx. Bird finished with a .333/.500/.643 slash line, three homers, and 10 RBI over 19 games. Voit, on the other hand, wasn't too shabby either with a .289/.365/.578 line with four homers and 12 RBI.
For Bird, this is exactly what he and the Yankees hoped for when he came into camp. Tumultuous would be a pleasant way to describe his 2018 regular season that saw a .199 average with 11 homers and 38 RBI over 82 games. Between battling injuries and not be able to get in a groove at the dish, Bird took some time to himself this offseason to regroup and focus on a bounce-back season.
So far, so good.
In Voit's case, this is no loss to him. With the Orioles giving the ball to Andrew Cashner on Thursday, it may simply be a matcup situation that Bird gets the nod at first. Voit's defense, which was one area of concern for some, didn't falter this spring. And with his bat not falling off after his hot second half with the Yankees last season, Voit has proved he can pick up right where he left off.
It was a tough choice for Boone to make. But, if these two first basemen continue to rake like they did in Tampa, he won't mind where they are in the lineup this season.