ryan westmoreland

Ryan Westmoreland is going back to school, hopes to return to field

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Former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland, who retired from baseball at age 22 this spring after a pair of brain surgeries, still hopes there’s some baseball in his future.

The native of Rhode Island sat down with the Newport Daily News to talk about his future recently:

“I’ve been working out a lot, and if the time comes, I’m going to give it a shot. Because retired or not, my dream has always been to play in the big leagues, and if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen,” he said. “But if I ever feel like there’s a shot for me, I’m going to give it a shot. Whether it’s just playing catch or taking batting practice or whatever it is. I love the game still and that will never change.”

Westmoreland’s plan for now, though, calls for school and something that may allow him to work with young athletes someday.

“I’ve been looking into physical therapy school. It’s a six-year program, but I feel like I have a good understanding of the body and injuries — of course, injuries,” he said. “But it’s something I’ve always been interested in and I can branch off and do whatever — strength and conditioning, nutrition; that’s all kind of right up my alley.

Westmoreland’s schooling is already pretty much taken care of; his original contract with the Red Sox  guaranteed him $200,000 if he ended up going to college.

At age 19, Westmoreland hit .296/.401/.484 for short-season Single-A Lowell in 2009, quickly establishing himself as one of the game’s top outfield prospects. However, disaster struck the following spring, as he required surgery for a cavernous malformation in his brainstem. A second surgery followed in 2012, and he retired from baseball in March. He still has one more surgery planned, that to correct an eye problem that should allow him to ditch the glasses he’s currently wearing and permit him to drive again.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.

Report: Phillies agree to minor league deal with Daniel Nava

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 12:  Daniel Nava #12 of the Kansas City Royals bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.

Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.