After missing all of 2016 following shoulder surgery, Bird has played in only 19 games this season, batting only .100.
"It's really tough to get on track when you missed two really whole years," Girardi said before the Yankees lost 4-2 to the Twins Monday.
Girardi wouldn't say definitively if he looked at Bird as the team's starting first baseman for 2018.
Bird, 24, led the Grapefruit League in home runs with seven before fouling a ball off his right ankle in the final days of spring training. He played through it but was unsuccessful at the plate, which forced him to the DL with what the team described as a bruised bone in the ankle. He has attempted to come back through minor league rehabs, but, though doctors had problems locating the issue, he didn't feel right.
A specialist on Monday confirmed that Bird, 24, has a condition called os trigonum, which is excess bone growth in his foot. With the ankle better, the Yankees and Bird are hopeful that the issues will be behind him.
The recovery time from the surgery, which will take place Tuesday, is six weeks, according to Girardi. That would mean he could resume baseball activities in September. After being out months and without spring training, it is highly unlikely that he could return to the field unless the Yankees advanced far into the playoffs. Even then, it probably would not happen.
Bird hit 11 homers in 46 games in 2015 while filling in for an injured Mark Teixeira. This season, the Yankees have received little production from first base. Right-handed Garrett Cooper and lefty Ji-Man Choi are currently sharing the position.