Duran Looking For A Clean Slate

It has been a long and arduous road for Matt Duran. The third baseman played in just six games a year ago while dealing with stress reaction in both his left foot and right elbow. He tried rehabbing the latter injury all last winter in preparation for the 2014 season but it ultimately ended in season-ending surgery before his season every really began. Now he's looking for a clean slate.

"I've been home since March," he said. "I had an injury that sidelined me towards the end of the year last year and I had surgery to correct it because it didn't heal on its own."

The injury turned out to be a microfracture in his right elbow and after spending the entire offseason rehabbing the injury he and the Yankees opted for surgery on March 3rd, days before the official start of minor league Spring Training and thus ending his 2014 season before it every really began In fact, playing this past season was never really in the plans.

"Unfortunately, no. I was hoping to be ready and I just never got off the ground. By March 3rd they said let's clean it up and that's where we're at. It's been tough to go through the six months of rehab [prior to the surgery] but I pushed through it.

"I was rehabbing from late December to late February. I was trying to get ready for Spring Training but it just never worked out. My arm was telling me that it just wasn't getting better and that it needed to be fixed, and that's when we decided on the surgery.

"The elbow [pain] just continued," he continued. "It just never healed. I had surgery to correct it and it's been corrected.

"It's been going good. I kind of knew all along that I was going to need the surgery because I could feel it. I knew my body well enough that I could feel something wasn't right."

While there was no damage to the ligament itself and therefore not technically Tommy John surgery, the Yankees have been treating his recovery time and rehab just as if it was Tommy John surgery, however.

"They're just taking it really, really slow right now," he admitted. "There is no rush at this point."

Missing the entire 2014 season on the heels of playing in just six total games during the 2013 season has left the former fourth round pick essentially out of action for two tumultuous years now.

"To be honest I can't put it into words," he said. "Growing up playing baseball everyday for the last 15 years, to have it taken away from you from something you can't control is very difficult. But it's made me hungrier. I'm in better shape than I have been in the last few years. I'm ready to go whenever my arm lets me play."

Resting and rehabbing back home in New Rochelle, New York, Duran began his throwing program back in August and just recently hit another milestone in his comeback bid.

"I recently just started swinging a bat," he revealed. "That was exciting. That started maybe two weeks ago.

"I had a month straight of throwing and then about a couple of weeks ago I started swinging. I'm on track to be back for the beginning of Spring Training. I'm excited for that."

The current plan has him slated to head back down to the minor league complex in Tampa around the end of October so he can continue his rehab in the warmer weather right up until Spring Training and begin the 2015 season with a clean slate.

"I'm ready. I got through the dog days. The first month I was like 'okay', the second I was like 'alright', the third and four months I just wanted to get it over with. And then right around the time I started throwing I started picking it up.

"I felt great and now I'm starting to hit. Now I just want to be able to play games again which obviously won't be for a while but I'm ready to go.

"It's been a whirlwind definitely. I was looking to carry over my good second half to the Staten Island season [in 2012] into last year and I just got hurt. It was bad. I just need to wipe the slate clean and get ready for Spring Training. I can't wait," he concluded.

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