Red Sox outfield prospect Ryan Westmoreland underwent successful brain surgery to remove a cavernous malformation Tuesday in Arizona, according to general manager Theo Epstein.
Westmoreland, 19, was in surgery for five hours at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. According to team officials, he remains in intensive care but came through the procedure "well."
The Portsmouth, R.I., native first learned of the vascular condition March 5 at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was sent after dealing with persistent headaches and other neurological issues in the Red Sox' minor league camp.
After consulting with three specialists, he and his family chose to go with surgery to remove the cavernoma, which can be fatal in a small number of patients. Dr. Robert Spetzler, recognized as a leader in the field, performed the surgery.
Rated as the top positional player in the Sox' system, Westmoreland "will face a difficult period initially before beginning his recovery," team officials said.
Westmoreland had surgery to remove three wisdom teeth early in camp and initially attributed his headaches and other issues to that procedure. But he was pulled from minor league camp and sent to Boston on March 4 when the problems did not go away.
Many people who have cavernous malformations never even know it and surgery is not always needed if the symptoms are not severe.
According to earlier reports, Westmoreland's entire family was with him in Arizona, including Chris Westmoreland, his uncle and the home clubhouse manager for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Westmoreland hit .296 with seven home runs in 60 games with low Single-A Lowell last season. He had surgery on a torn labrum in November 2008 and saw his 2009 season end early after colliding with an outfield wall and breaking a collarbone.