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.

Someone stole Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey after a vigil

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09:  Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Marlins Park on July 9, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.

That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”

The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.

 

What Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher would you ask to pitch today?

Mike Mussina
Associated Press
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In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?

The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.

My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.

If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.

Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.

So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?