July 12, 2012
OXFORD, Miss. -- Ty Hensley has agreed to terms with the New York Yankees, the right-handed pitcher confirmed to RebelGrove.com on Thursday night.
Hensley, who signed with Ole Miss last November, was the No. 30 overall selection in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Hensley's signing bonus is $1.2 million, significantly lower than the $1.6 million slot recommendation. The Yankees could have paid more than $1.8 million without losing a draft pick.
The signing bonus dip is in connection with an MRI result that showed an abnormality in Hensley's right shoulder. However, the 6-foot-5 pitcher has had no symptoms and is currently running his fastball velocity into the high 90s.
The Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year said it was a "difficult decision with no wrong answer."
The Ole Miss signing class is now complete but was hit hard by the MLB Draft. The Rebels lost three first-round picks to professional baseball: Gavin Cecchini (Mets), Stryker Trahan (Diamondbacks) and Hensley.
READ BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HENSLEY'S SHOULDER ISSUE:
There has been some speculation with the amount of time that Hensley has taken to decide between Ole Miss and a professional baseball career with the New York Yankees that the right-hander had been holding out for more money than the $1.6 million dollar assigned value set for the 30th overall pick. To the contrary, Hensley and the Yankees had agreed to terms immediately following the draft for 1.6 million. On the morning of the draft Hensley had sent an email to all Major League clubs notifying them that he would not forego his commitment to the University of Mississippi for anything below the assigned value of the first round and that a money amount below those numbers was not enough to pass up an education and a chance to be a two way player at Ole Miss.
Unfortunately a cruel twist of fate made what was to be an easy, clear-cut process one filled with doubt and concern. Upon agreeing to terms the Yankees sent Ty and his mother to Tampa, Fla., for his team-required physical on June 8th. During that exam Hensley had taken a routine MRI, which displayed an abnormality in his right shoulder. He has never been injured or experienced any pain in his throwing shoulder and from a scouting perspective was one of the most highly regarded pitchers in the draft with velocity readings in the mid-high 90's. In fact, the Yankees were present at all of Hensley's starts to witness this consistency. The news of the MRI findings came a shock to both parties. As a result the Hensley family and the Yankees took a step back to absorb the medical information they were given, and its impact moving forward.
Despite being asymptomatic, having a normal physical exam and lack of any prior injury, the incidental findings on Hensley's MRI raised concern for the Yankees. There have been limited studies done on asymptomatic throwers with abnormalities like Hensley's. Although currently healthy and despite conflicting orthopedic evaluations of his MRI, the Yankees felt they were assuming some future risk with Hensley and reduced the agreed bonus amount.
"People have told me all along there's baseball and the business of baseball, " Hensley said. "The fact that the Yankees think I may be of higher risk for injury in the future is all about the business of baseball, and I don't fault them for that; technically I guess it is an unknown. What is known to me is that I am healthy, feeling great and have never had any problems with my shoulder, period. It is extremely hard for me to swallow that a picture may say otherwise when I can do my thing and dial it up to 98 mph. The last 30 days have been the absolute hardest of my life, trying to decide what was truly best for me given my situation.
"When I would throw my bullpens I would try to see if I could feel anything at all in my shoulder. I thought I would go crazy. I went through all the emotions you can go through sadness, anger, frustration you name it. The toughest thing still is that we don't know really what my situation is other than the fact my shoulder is built differently than most of the people out there. I have an abnormality that other people don't have, but heck that may be part of the reason I throw the way I do. We don't know what it means for the future, but it certainly is a non factor right now. Over the last few weeks I would watch R.A. Dickey on TV, and think well if he could get through it I can do it too. At the end of the day I have decided with much back and forth debate that the best place me to prove that my "abnormal" is my "normal" is with the team that thought highly enough of me to make me their 1st pick".
The Yankees and Hensley are both excited that they could come to a mutually beneficial resolution.
"The Yankees have treated me well during this process", Hensley said. "They have had to work through things like I have. The hold up for me was accepting the fact that I had to make my decision under these circumstances.
"The Yankees and I are in this together," Hensley said. "The deal we came to illustrates this. By being honest about what has been going on, I hope it will lead to a better understanding of medicals like mine. My mom spent 24/7 on the internet just trying to find anything she could so maybe this will help someone else. There is no sense in being bitter, I am still living the dream and am grateful for the amazing opportunities that I have had. Right now I think we all just want to put this behind us and concentrate on the impact I can have on the Yankees now and in the future".