Bird went hitless over his first 11 summer at-bats before banging out two hits the last two days, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. Bird and Ronald Guzman are locked in a battle for the starting job at first base, but neither player has stood out. The longer both players struggle at the plate, the greater the opening created for the hot-hitting Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who could hit his way into the lineup at third base while Todd Frazier moves across the diamond to first.
Bird has landed a spot in Texas' 60-man player pool. Bird was in camp for spring training as a non-roster invitee with a shot at winning the starting first base job. Neither he nor Ronald Guzman earned the spot, which remains open as the ramp up to the new Opening Day begins later this week. Bird and Guzman will battle it out over the next three weeks, though the Rangers have a possible backup plan that involves moving Todd Frazier to first if the club is confident Isiah Kiner-Falefa or Nick Solak is ready for the everyday gig at third base.
Bird started at first base and went 0-for-3 in Sunday's spring game against the Dodgers. Bird is competing with Ronald Guzman for the starting first base job, but he still doesn't have a hit in 15 spring plate appearances. Guzman (3-for-15) hasn't done much better, although he had a home run Saturday and probably has the edge at this point. As both hit from the left side, the Rangers may choose to keep one while finding a platoon partner from the right side of the plate.
Bird (foot) said Tuesday that he had no health issues to start camp, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. A healthy season would be a rarity for Bird, who's played a total of 173 games over the last four seasons combined. He'll need both health and improved performance if he's to play a significant role in Texas this season, as his career .211/.301/.424 slash line in 700 major-league games isn't nearly good enough for an everyday first baseman.
Bird (foot) cleared waivers and became a free agent Wednesday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. Things just didn't work out for Bird in New York, as he was limited by injuries to just 140 games over the last four seasons combined, hitting .194/.287/.388 over that stretch. As a 27-year-old with significant injury concerns and very little success at the big-league level, he may be stuck looking for a minor-league deal this winter.
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