Red Sox outfield prospect Ryan Westmoreland is getting back on the field a year and a half after surgery to remove a cavernous malformation from his brain stem.
The 21-year-old Westmoreland will serve as a designated hitter in Dominican instructional league games this week. The current plan is for him to get one at-bat Thursday and two on Friday.
Westmoreland appeared well on his way to establishing himself as one of the game’s top outfield prospects after hitting .296/.401/.484 in 223 at-bats as a 19-year-old in the New York-Penn League in 2009. Baseball America rated him Boston’s No. 1 prospect following that season.
If all goes well in the Dominican Republic, then Westmoreland should be able to resume playing in the minors next season. Even after two years off, he’s still young enough to potentially make an impact in the majors someday.
For more on Westmoreland, check out Charles Pierce’s story on his recovery from back in March.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.