Sox Prospect Westmoreland ‘Right on Track’ in Recovery
|12.23.09 at 5:59 am ET|
Red Sox minor leaguer Ryan Westmoreland — considered the organization’s top position playing prospect — is recovering well from his September surgery to repair a broken collarbone. The 19-year-old suffered the injury while crashing into a fence while making a catch for the Lowell Spinners of the Short-Season New York Penn League in the final days of the regular season.
According to Sox farm director Mike Hazen, Westmoreland — who hit .296 with a .401 OBP, .484 slugging percentage, .885 OPS, seven homers, 35 RBIs and 19 steals (without getting caught) for Lowell — is “going to have a pretty typical offseason.”
“Everything looks great – right on track. He’s doing his full strength and conditioning program at this point,” said Hazen.
Westmoreland’s condition at this point of the offseason, Hazen added, represents a “night and day” contrast with where he was last offseason. A year ago, Westmoreland underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, and was unable to engage in offseason upper-body strength work. Baseball activities, meanwhile, were nowhere near at hand. The Rhode Island native’s recovery from this surgery, on the other hand, will not be nearly as disruptive as he prepares for his first season at a full-season minor-league affiliate.
“He’d just had surgery at this point last offseason in November. He was still getting ready to rehab that thing. He wasn’t doing any upper body lifting,” said Hazen. “He’s been doing all of that stuff for a while right now. He didn’t start swinging the bat until spring training. He’s going to start swinging the bat in January. As far as strength and conditioning goes and swinging the bat, he’s going to have a pretty typical offseason. He probably lost about a month overall, which, in the grand scheme of things, we’ll make up for. … It’s a much different place.”
Hazen suggested that the surgeries have not interfered in any significant way with Westmoreland’s development. The centerfielder, who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 draft and signed for a $2 million bonus, is regarded as a five-tool talent. The biggest impact on his development last year was that he played just eight games in the field (after spending most of the first two months of the season at Lowell as the designated hitter).
But Westmoreland — who started the year serving as a DH in extended spring training, and then spent almost the full year in Lowell — took plenty of at-bats, and the Sox are confident that he will be able to make up for lost time in the outfield.
“All he lost last year from a playing time standpoint was spring training, the last week of the season [when the broken clavicle was incurred] and instructional league,” said Hazen. “The outfield time we can make up for easily. The at-bats, he didn’t lose a ton in the grand scheme of things. I don’t think this impairs [his development] at all.”
Westmoreland will likely start the 2010 season in Single-A Greenville.
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