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.”

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.