Ryan Westmoreland, a former top prospect in the Boston Red Sox system, has announced his retirement from professional baseball in an email to several members of the media, including Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal:
"With a clear mind and heart, as well as the unwavering support and friendship of my family, friends, agent(s), doctors, therapists and the Boston Red Sox, I have decided to voluntarily retire as a professional baseball player," Westmoreland wrote. "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."
The Red Sox selected Westmoreland in the fifth round of the 2008 MLB Draft. He signed a $2 million contract to forego his commitment to Vanderbilt University.
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Westmoreland appeared in 60 games for the Red Sox low-A affiliate in 2009, hitting .296/.401/.484 with 15 doubles, three triple and seven home runs. He playing career was then put on hold in March 2010 when he required surgery to remove a cavernous malformation from his brain stem.
Following the procedure, the outfielder made "remarkable" progress, according to MacPherson, but he sustained a setback that required a second surgery last July. This setback proved career-ending.
In his email, Westmoreland said he knows he has "worked as hard as one possibly could to overcome the obstacles presented by this unfortunate series of events." For this reason, he's confident turning the page and ending his playing career. However, he believes there is a plan that will utilize his experiences to do "something special" with his life.