Red Sox Prospect Ryan Westmoreland to Take Big Step in Recovery, Face Live Pitching Soon

Two years ago, Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland seemed to be on the fast track to the majors. The Portsmouth native, who the Sox selected in the fifth round of the 2008 draft, got off to a blazing start in his professional career in 2009 in Single-A Lowell.

In 60 games with the Spinners, the outfielder hit .296 with seven homers and 19 stolen bases, and his five-tool potential helped him quickly ascend up everyone's list of top Red Sox prospects. But all of that changed in a hurry when, in March of 2010, he was diagnosed with a cavernous malformation in his brain.

It's been a long road back for Westmoreland since then, but on Saturday, the 21-year-old said he's ready to take a giant step forward and begin facing live pitching soon, The Providence Journal reports.

"They know I'm ready, and I know I'm ready," Westmoreland said. "I'm physically and mentally ready — whether I hit the ball or not — to get in the batter's box again. To see a pitcher throw a ball at me from 60 feet away is going to be pretty special."

While Westmoreland has been practicing against a pitching machine, he says he's excited about the chance to face the real thing — even if he "swing[s] and miss[es] every time."

"Just the fact that I'm getting into the box and I know I'm mentally ready to see a live pitcher, I'm really excited about it, regardless of how I do," he said.

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