Westmoreland's Recovery On Schedule
BOSTON—The raves about Ryan Westmoreland are far-reaching. The outfielder is described as a player whose bat produces a different sound during batting practice, and whose five-tool athleticism earned him marks as the top prospect in the organization.
Talent evaluators consider him a potential star center fielder, so long as he can remain healthy. On that count, the 19-year-old is having a promising offseason following a season-ending broken collarbone that required surgery in September.
According to Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen, Westmoreland—who hit .296/.401/.484 with seven homers and 19 steals (without getting caught) for short-season 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," Hazen said.
Westmoreland's condition in the early offseason, Hazen added, represents a "night and day" contrast with where he was last offseason. A year ago, Westmoreland had November surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, and was unable to follow a full strength program. He could not start baseball activities, meanwhile, until spring training.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Rhode Island native's recovery from this surgery, on the other hand, will not be nearly as disruptive.
"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," said Hazen. "He probably lost about a month overall, which, in the grand scheme of things, we'll make up for."
Hazen suggested that the surgeries have not interfered in any significant way with Westmoreland's development. The center fielder, who was taken 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 had plenty of at-bats, and the Sox are confident that he will be able to make up for lost time in the outfield.
• The Red Sox extended their player development contract with Lowell (New York-Penn) through 2012.
• The Red Sox rookie development program, which tries to prepare players who are seen as call-up candidates in the next 12-18 months, will feature such participants as righthanders Casey Kelly, Randor Bierd, Kyle Weiland, Junichi Tazawa and Ryne Miller; lefthander Felix Doubront, catcher Luis Exposito, shortstops Jose Iglesias and Yamaico Navarro; and outfielders Che-Hsuan Lin and Ryan Kalish.