McFarland On The Mend

TAMPA, FL - One of the more notable omissions from the minor league Spring Training rosters currently is second baseman Ty McFarland. Last year's tenth round pick was supposed to be continuing his transition to second base in his very first Spring Training camp but has been set back with a recurring injury and he says there's a chance he may miss his first camp entirely.

"Right now I have a pars defect which is two stress fractures in my back that were healed with tissue instead of bone in my lower back," McFarland revealed. "I was diagnosed [with it] in my freshman year of college in 2011 and I've had three or four healthy years, and my rigorous offseason this year and my long season last year kind of made it flare up again.

"So I've got to hit the core hard. I gave it a little bit of rest and with a slow progression back I should be good to go for the full season this year."

As McFarland noted this isn't a new injury. It's something that just flares up from time to time and his current setback actually began during his debut season last year.

"It actually started getting a little tired late last season with a month left," he added. "It's something you can play with. It's not that much pain.

"I thought it would just heal in the offseason and it just never really did because I probably didn't give it the proper break. I didn't want to come into the season with an injury so I let the trainers know early so we could get it fixed before the season started."

"Fixing" it requires rest and rehab. For his particular injury surgery simply isn't a viable option.

"No, not at all," he insisted. "It's pretty much only rehab; a lot of core work, stabilization exercises, and if that didn't work we were thinking about cortisone shots which is a pretty common thing to do for that for this particular injury. Rehab has been working well though so we've been staying away from that."

He's not alone in the game with this particular injury and for McFarland that is a somewhat comforting feeling.

"It's a nagging injury. One thing that makes me feel a lot better is that Josh Hamilton and David Wright both have the same injury that I have so they're able to overcome it so that's something that gives me a little bit of hope these past couple of months."

He admits, however, that it isn't exactly easy to miss out on his first Spring Training camp.

"It's definitely a little frustrating seeing everyone happy to be here and to get the season started, all of my friends in my first Spring Training," he not surprisingly said. "It's a little sad to miss your first Spring Training but if you look at the big picture it's not going to be anything."

Nagging is better word to describe his ailment than anything. He says he isn't in a lot of pain and that the sole remedy is just rest and rehab. He's done both for a while now and is slowly working his way back to regular baseball activities.

"I just started hitting off of a tee this past week," he said. "It's really a slow progression because you don't want to have any setbacks. I'm in good hands with a great training staff and physical therapy. They know what they're doing and I couldn't be happier to be with them."

He hasn't just been hitting off of a tee either. He's been taking some ground balls in the field too.

"I just started doing that maybe this week too. It's really slow, maybe like 20 ground balls a day. Right now it doesn't really matter where [which position], I'm just getting the ground balls, but I've been moving back and forth between second and third a little bit."

He's been slowly working his way back in an effort to get back to playing in actual games.

"I am so excited, it's my favorite thing to do. I'm just looking forward to the next day even, maybe hitting BP's sometime soon. I just try to focus on one day at a time so I just look at the [rehab work] sheet and see what they have for me for that day's work and then attack it with everything I've got."

There is no exact timetable for his official return to game action. However, with less than two weeks left in minor league Spring Training it doesn't appear likely that he will participate in games in his first camp.

"I'm pretty sure I'm not going to play in any games in Spring Training so I'll probably be here for a little bit of Extended [Spring Training] to get some live at-bats and get my timing back. I'm not really sure, I think it's a big feel thing to see how I'm feeling but right now I feel good so that's always a plus," he concluded.

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