Boston Red Sox minor leaguer and former top prospect Ryan Westmoreland has announced on Wednesday he has decided to retire from the game baseball.
Drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 June Amateur Draft, Westmoreland signed a $2 million signing bonus to play for the Red Sox organization. Coming into the 2010 season, Baseball America had ranked him the 21st best prospect in the major leagues.
In March of 2010, Westmoreland underwent a life-threatening surgery to remove a cavernous malformation on his brain stem. He continued to rehabilitate in an attempt to return to professional baseball in the 2011–12 off-season.
He continued to take regular batting practice and participate in simulated games before seeing live pitching in the winter of 2011. The Red Sox prospect underwent a second surgery in July of 2011 after suffering a setback in his rehabilitation.
During his time with the Red Sox minor league system, Westmoreland only played in game action during one season with the short season Single-A Lowell Spinners. The outfielder batted .296 with seven homers, 35 RBIs and 19 stolen bases in 60 games.
Westmoreland told reporters on Wednesday, “Although it is a very difficult decision for me, it has become clear that the neurological damage caused by the most recent cavernous malformation and surgery leaves me with physical challenges that make it impossible to play the game at such a high level.”
The story was one that Red Sox Nation had been clinging to and following closely, since a comeback story from two brain surgeries is something that everyone loves to hear.
The retirement from baseball is sad end to the story; however, Red Sox fans were happy to have him in the organization, and wish in the best in his future endeavors.