Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland on road back from brain surgery

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Speaking publically for the first time since surgery in March to repair a cavernous malformation in his brain, Ryan Westmoreland on Wednesday said he was making steady progress and that he hoped to return to playing baseball in the Red Sox system.
Westmoreland, a 20-year-old outfielder rated as Boston’s top prospect by Baseball America over the winter, has been doing some light throwing and running, though he’s not believed to be close to returning to game action.
“That’s always the mindset. I’m going to get on the field and play again,” he said. “That’s the ultimate goal. That doesn’t change and it never will. Going to watch Pawtucket play, or Portland play, or the big-league team play, it just gives you the motivation to get to that point. I haven’t heard too much comparisons, but I keep hearing from pretty much every doctor that the pace is what they termed remarkable. From a general perspective, I’m definitely getting better. I don’t stop setting goals for myself. I want to break through those goals earlier than when I set them.”

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.