Red Sox minor league outfielder and Rhode Island native Ryan Westmoreland has taken a medical leave from camp to seek treatment on a cavernous malformation in his brain, general manager Theo Epstein announced Saturday.
The 19-year-old Westmoreland, considered the best positional player in the Sox' system, will have surgery to remove the malformation Tuesday at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Ariz.
"The entire Red Sox organization stands in support of Ryan as he courageously deals with this issue," Epstein said. "Ryan is a remarkable kid and a talented player, and we understand that many will be concerned about his health. He is getting the best medical attention the world has to offer, and we will have more information soon."
Westmoreland left minor league camp on March 4 and was diagnosed with the vascular condition the next day at Massachusetts General Hospital, team officials said. He consulted with three leading experts in the field before establishing a treatment plan.
Cavernous malformations can cause bleeding or hemorrhaging into brain tissue, which can lead to headaches, seizures, weakness, numbness or difficulties with speaking, vision and coordination. The entire cavernoma can be removed through surgery.
The condition is the most serious in a run of health issues for Westmoreland. Early in spring training he had three wisdom teeth pulled and told reporters that he had pain in his head every time he made contact upon returning to camp.
Westmoreland also missed the end of last season in Lowell after breaking his collarbone running into an outfield wall. In November 2008, he had surgery on a partially torn labrum.