Earlier today, it was reported on WEEI that Ryan Westmoreland will see some live at-bats in the final days of the Dominican Instructional League. It will be the first time the Boston Red Sox prospect sees live pitching since March 16, 2010.
The 21-year-old Rhode Island native burst onto the scene for Boston in 2009. Then, as a 19-year-old minor league rookie, he hit .296/.401/.484 with seven home runs and 19 stolen bases for the Lowell Spinners. His performance elevated him through many top prospect lists.
However, 2010 would be mired in tragedy for the 2008 fifth-rounder.
In March of 2010, it was discovered that Westmoreland had what was defined as a "cavernous malformation" in his brain stem. He soon underwent successful surgery to remove the problem, but it was unknown if he would ever be able to play baseball again.
Since then, Westmoreland has battled back. It seemed a miracle when he was taking batting practice off a tee. Now, he will be seeing live pitches.
The schedule has him slated to take one at-bat Thursday, and two on Friday. It is not much, but it is a start.
No one knows where Westmoreland will go from here. There is a good chance he may never fully recover and never get the chance to put on a Big League uniform. At the same time, he has done a great job of surprising everyone to this point. With no schedule in place for his future development, all we can do is sit back and marvel at this amazing story.
Despite an unclear future, Westmoreland's story is still an inspiration.