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Ryan Westmoreland announces retirement from Red Sox

03.06.13 at 2:18 pm ET

Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland, who has had two brain surgeries in the last three years, on Wednesday announced that he was retiring from baseball.

Westmoreland had surgery in March 2010 to remove a cavernous malformation from his brain stem. He showed dramatic progress before needing a second surgery last July.

“With a clear mind and heart, as well as the unwavering support and friendship of my family, friends, agent, doctors, therapists and the Boston Red Sox, I have decided to voluntarily retire as a professional baseball player,” Westmoreland wrote in an e-mail sent to members of the media. “Although it is a very difficult decision for me, it has become clear that the neurological damage caused by the most recent cavernous malformation and surgery leaves me with physical challenges that make it impossible to play the game at such a high level.”

Westmoreland, 22, was selected in the fifth round of the 2008 draft out of Rhode Island’s Portsmouth High School. He received a $2 million bonus to sign with the Red Sox instead of playing at Vanderbilt and was considered one of the organization’s top prospects before his medical issues.

In his only minor league season, in 2009 with Single-A Lowell, Westmoreland hit .296/.401/.484/.885 with seven home runs, 35 RBIs and 19 stolen bases in 60 games.

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