Red Sox Prospect Ryan Westmoreland Starts Hitting Again After Brain Surgery, Making Progress Toward Return Since undergoing surgery to remove a malformation on his brain stem, Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland has not played baseball for more than a year.

The determined outfielder is defying the odds at spring training in Fort Myers, and has been hitting balls tossed by coaches, reports.

“Doctors didn’t think I would be able to take BP this early,” the 20-year-old said.

In January, Red Sox director of player development Mike Hazen spoke of Westmoreland’s incredible progress and possible early return to baseball.

“We’re seeing steady progress; he’s seeing steady progress,” Hazen said. “It’s still going to take a little while to get him back to where he was. We’re still confident and optimistic. If you’re betting on one person to get back and make it to that place, it is him. You’d be amazed at the amount of drive in this kid, given what he’s had with the setbacks and everything he’s had to go through.”

Westmoreland’s recovery has impressed his doctors from the get-go, as he’s been ahead of schedule in nearly all of his rehabilitation activities since undergoing surgery in March of 2010. 

“The thing I keep hearing from every doctor, they term it remarkable,” Westmoreland said last June. “Only three months out, I’m doing things above the limits of what the doctors thought they’d be. My therapists keep shooting goals for me, and I keep breaking them earlier than expected.”

Before his diagnosis last spring, the outfielder posted a .296 batting average with seven home runs in Single-A Lowell during the 2009 season. In just 60 games, He knocked in 35 runs, while going a perfect 19-for-19 in stolen base attempts.

Westmoreland says he hopes to continue his remarkable progress and his goal is to join the Double-A Sea Dogs in 2011.