ryan westmoreland

Westmoreland making steady progress from brain surgery

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When Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland was diagnosed in March with a cavernous malformation in his brain, some medical specialists thought it might put an end to his baseball career.  Not so.

Westmoreland had surgery to repair the problem and is now taking batting practice two or three times a week, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.  He was invited to stand on the sidelines at Sunday’s Colts vs. Patriots game and appeared to be in good spirits.  If the progress continues, it’s possible that he will be an active regular at spring training next year.

“We’re just seeing how it plays out right now,” he said Sunday. “If something happens where I can play next year, that would be great. But we’re not looking forward like that. We’re just taking it day by day, seeing how things progress. If it’s meant to be, it’s going to happen. But I’m ready to wait. If patience is what it takes, I’m ready for it.”

Westmoreland is planning to spend his winter at the Red Sox’s spring training complex in Fort Myers, Florida, where he can work out and get regular checkups from the club’s medical staff.  The 20-year-old outfielder batted .296/.401/.484 with seven home runs and 19 stolen bases in 60 games for Single-A Lowell in 2009.  He obviously took the 2010 season off.

Report: Mariners acquire Chris Heston from the Giants

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.

Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.

Joe Nathan wants to pitch in 2017

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 16: Joe Nathan #36 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the ninth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on August 16, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Mariners 4-2.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
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Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.

Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.

According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.