McFarland Still Rehabbing

Ty McFarland showed a lot of promise in his debut season last year, especially offensively, leading the Staten Island club in RBIs and among the team leaders in doubles. While there were some concerns with what his long-term position was going to be heading into his first full season this year, the bigger issue became his chronic back pain. He dealt with it all year and he's still rehabbing now.

He played in just 27 games this year with three different minor league teams, amassing just 100 at-bats in 2015, and it all stemmed from chronic back pain that not only plagued him before the season even ever really began but long before that point too.

"I pretty much have what's called Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis and a degenerative disc, which from what I've gathered so far is a chronic back issue that was a stress fracture that developed when I was in my early teens and it's just something that doesn't really bother you until you have something else that bothers you later in life," McFarland revealed.

"It started bothering me in college a little bit and then we got it under control by doing some core stability work. Then last year in Staten Island with about a month left in the season it started bothering me again. I just kept playing through because I had been there before.

"I thought it would just go away in the offseason. I did the same core stability stuff and it just never ended up going away through this whole year so I called the trainers. We tried to fix it before the season and got it somewhat fixed, but as the season went on it started to hurt more and more.

"I told them 'it's definitely affecting my play and I don't want to go on trying to keep playing through this' so they shut me down for the season, and that's pretty much where we are now. I'm just trying to figure out a recipe that will help cure this chronic back pain."

It certainly did affect his game. He hit just a combined .180 in those 100 at-bats this season and his last at-bat came on June 27th while playing for the Staten Island Yankees. It was then that he decided the pain was simply too much to endure.

He went back to Tampa and received a series of four cortisone shots over a two week period, including another neuro shot as well, and while the pain subsided for roughly two weeks it simply came back again. It was then that he and the Yankees decided to go back to the rehabbing route because having back surgery simply isn't an option.

"Surgery is definitely not an option for me," he insisted. "If it is an option it would mean my baseball career would be over with. Even if it does get to that point [where my baseball career is over] it would require a spinal fusion and I've heard some horror stories about that. This is something that is definitely fixable with just physical therapy."

He has been doing the physical therapy since the middle of July. About a month ago the Yankees allowed McFarland to continue his physical therapy at home and he continued that course of action until about a week ago.

"Right now we've been doing a bunch of stuff to figure out what works best and right now we're in a resting and stretching period, and it's actually the best it has felt in a year," he said. "I'm really happy about that."

Feeling good now, McFarland does admit to being quite frustrated this year overall.

"It's definitely been pretty frustrating. I didn't really get to play baseball this year. I'm used to hitting everyday and I haven't been able to hit in a long time.

"I haven't felt 100 percent since Staten [Island[ last year. It stinks. In college you can get away with playing at 70 percent -- metal bats, not as good pitching, not playing everyday, etc -- but in pro ball you have to be really healthy, especially going into the season.

"Even when I was playing this year I was still monitoring my swings and I wasn't even thinking about baseball this year. I was thinking about my back the whole year. I'm really just looking towards the future to get back on the field and get to play baseball again pain free."

He still hasn't resumed any running just yet let alone any baseball activities, but for a guy who has dealt with pain for the better part of six months now he does finally have some optimism that he can once again get back to playing baseball pain-free.

"If you would have asked me about a month ago I would have had a more negative answer but lately it's been feeling really good. I'm really optimistic about it now," he concluded.

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