It wasn't supposed to happen, but the Yankees traveled to the Bronx from Tampa with both Luke Voit and Greg Bird on the roster. It would've been manager Aaron Boone's hardest decision if he had to choose one over the other.
Luckily, he didn't have to as both Voit and Bird found their way on to the Yankees' Opening Day lineup. And they didn't disappoint.
In his first at-bat with two runners on, Voit cranked a three-run homer to Monument Park to make the Yankee Stadium crowd go berserk, and put the Bombers on the board first. Voit also worked two walks.
"No it felt good," Voit told YES Network's Meredith Marakovits when asked if he doubted the ball was going to carry the wall. "I did my little Sammy Sosa hop, but it felt good and to pick up where I left off [in 2018] to get that first hit out of the way is always nice and my other at-bats were pretty good. Saw pitches out of the zone and didn't swing at them, so it was a good day."
Voit got the day as the Yankees' DH, but that won't be his primary role with Bird up, according to Boone. Still, the 28-year-old doesn't care about where he ends up in the lineup. Now that he has his first hit out of the way, he can relax and get into a groove.
"It's just that sense of relief that [is like] 'Hey, season is finally here, you got it out of the way, and now don't have to put pressure on yourself to do anything,' " Voit said. "It is very nice to get that going.
Bird's Opening Day didn't have the same start to Voit's. In fact, he struck out in his first three at-bats, with his last coming on a questionable call. On that third strikeout, Yankee Stadium filled with some boos, and it felt as if Bird's strong spring was already deflating.
Until he came to the plate for his final at-bat.
Bird fell into an 0-2 count, against a lefty nonetheless. But the slugger hung in on a breaking ball down the middle, and belted it over the right field fence.
Gregory Paul beyond the wall. pic.twitter.com/jT6t9ubknB- New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 28, 2019
"Just really like how he dealt with everything on Opening Day," Boone said after the game, who gave Bird props for not changing his approach or mindset at the plate despite the strikeouts.
That push-and-pull relationship between Voit and Bird doesn't look to be changing anytime soon. So what happens when Aaron Hicks returns? If Bird and Voit stay hot, it will be hard for the Yankees to justify sending one of them to Triple-A.
Hicks still needs more time to rehab before he makes his way back north, so these first basemen will have ample at-bats as the regular season kicks off. The Yankees can deal with the problem later as long as these two continue to help win games.