Former Grandview star Greg Bird called up to bigs by Yankees

Grandview baseball players Kevin Gausman (left), pitcher, and Greg Bird, catcher, pose during practice March 9 at Grandview High School. (Heather A. Longway/ The Aurora Sentinel)
Former Grandview baseball stars Kevin Gausman, left, and Greg Bird pose at a Grandview practice on March 9, 2011. Gausman, a pitcher, is already in Major League Baseball with the Baltimore Orioles, while Bird — a catcher turned first baseman — has been called up to play with the New York Yankees. (Aurora Sentinel file photo)

Greg Bird had the look of a future Major League Baseball player when he was slugging away in Aurora for Grandview High School.

On Thursday, he’ll get his shot as the New York Yankees have called up the burly 6-foot-3, 215-pound first baseman according to multiple media reports out of New York. Bird is expected to play first base and bat seventh when the Yankees face the Cleveland Indians at 5:10 p.m. MT.

New York is looking for a spark as its fallen out of first place in the American League East for the first time since July 1 as Troy Tulowitzki-led Toronto has caught fire.

The 22-year-old Bird, who New York drafted out of Grandview in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft and signed a $1.1 million contract with the team two months later, has hit 12 home runs in the 2015 season between a 49-game stint with AA Trenton and a 31-game runs with Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre since his promotion on July 3.

On Monday, Bird was named the International League Player of the Week after he hit .348 for the week with Scranton Wilkes-Barre and collected eight hits (five for extra bases), plus a league-leading 10 RBI.

Bird has 48 home runs and a .282 batting average with an OPS of .878 in 347 career minor league games in the Yankees organization.

If Bird sticks with the Yankees, he could have a chance to face former Grandview batterymate Kevin Gausman when New York plays host to Gausman’s Baltimore Orioles Sept. 7-9.

Those chances could be good, as no less than Yankees star Alex Rodriguez gave this glowing assessment of Bird in a story written by John Harper of the New York Daily News:

““I mean, when you’ve been around for 20 years, you know who can play and who can’t. You see the way the ball comes off his bat,” Rodriguez said of Bird. “Then you see his work ethic, and how he watches and asks smart questions, and you know he’s got a great makeup. He’s going to be around for a long time.”

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes