Hensley Back On Track

Former first round pick, Ty Hensley, has just concluded his first season back after being out for nearly two years due to injury. The right-handed pitcher has fought through five surgeries and countless months of rehab. However, with his fastball reaching 96 mph this season and a spinning plus curveball with the Staten Island Yankees, he and his stuff seem to be back on track.

On July 30, 2014, Hensley debuted under the lights in his first game since his two-year ordeal. This first game also happened to fall on his twenty first birthday and the whole experience was surreal for the young player.

"It's definitely just humbling and makes you realize after everything that I’ve gone through that you can't really take any of that for granted. I just love being out there and I love competing," Hensley said after his first game back on the mound.

He hadn't pitched too competitively in the first two seasons because of his various trips to the disabled list and subsequent trips to the operating room, and that made it tough for him to flash the plus stuff he reportedly had possessed prior to his selection with the Yankees out of high school.

Throughout this 2014 season, however, now that he was able to finally string together some consecutive starts, his stuff began to blossom. Manager Mario Garza and pitching coach Tim Norton were able to watch Hensley improve and excel.

"I’m really proud of Ty," Garza said. "His fastball is up to 96 which is, that’s a big number. I mean that’s tough. He was consistent.

"I thought his fastball command was very good and obviously his go to is that plus breaking ball that he has. He really showed that and that was impressive. I hadn’t seen a whole lot of Ty but I got to know him and he’s an excellent person, he’s a hard worker, and I think he has a very bright future."

With a four-seam, two-seam fastball combination sitting in the low to mid nineties and reaching 96, a curveball reaching the high seventies and low eighties, and a changeup in the mid eighties, Hensley has a powerful pitching mix.

“I’m glad he had a healthy year," Norton said. "He had a tough time the last two years. He showed up here and had that fastball, mid nineties fastball and a really good curveball.

"He can really spin it so he did well for us in limited innings. He was limited three innings pretty much in the start so the kid had a great year."

Hensley pitched only 2.2 inning in his debut game in July and then only three innings in each game after that. He was very limited but performed well during his time on the mound with six strikeouts in his last game of the season against the Brooklyn Cyclones.

“Really about as good as I could have hoped for," Hensley said when asked how he felt his season went. "I had a couple of starts where my body was kind of doing stuff I didn’t want it to do and I had to just fight through it but overall I felt like I did everything I needed to do to get back on track this year."

The Oklahoma native feels his pitches are getting back to where they were before his injuries. He would like to see his fastball a few ticks higher but overall feels his curveball is back to where it should be.

"I felt like my curveball was back to where it was before all the surgeries I had," he said. "My fastball is a couple of ticks down but I feel like once I get a full off season to go workout and get in the best shape I can, it will come back next year."

The Staten Island Yankee's season ended September 1st against Brooklyn but Hensley had already been shut down and was done for the remainder of his time in New York. He plans on heading down to Tampa for a few days where he will see the training staff before driving home to Oklahoma.

"I probably won't throw a ball again until December 1st," he revealed. "So I’ll have a full three months off. It's not going to include any rehab this time which is a big thing. So I feel like I have a good four or five months to just get in the best shape of my life and I think it's going to pay off.”

Moving forward both Garza and Norton believe he just needs more innings and some more experience at the professional level.

“I just think he needs innings," Norton noted. "It’s something he hasn’t had in two years, a consistent spot in the rotation because of his health. So really he just needs reps, he just needs innings, to get in games and figure it out."

“He’s just got to get innings under his belt<" Garza added. "He hasn’t pitched a whole lot in his pro career and I think with that he’ll gain experience, he’ll gain confidence, and he’ll gain consistency."

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