Thursday March 07, 2013 | 11:07 AM

Ryan Westmoreland spent some time at Hadlock Field in 2010, visiting friends with the Portland Sea Dogs.

Westmoreland should also have been playing baseball but a rare disease required surgery on Westmoreland's brain stem. Instead of playing baseball - and Westmoreland could play it well - he was in rehab, trying to walk without a cane.

Westmoreland, an outfielder, was considered the Red Sox No. 1 prospect by Baseball America, heading into the 2010 season. Then came the surgery.

"It is still hard to believe such a strong athlete could get so sick," said Sea Dogs pitcher Stephen Fife at the time. Fife, who is now with the Dodgers organization, had became close friends with Westmoreland. He was amazed at Westmoreland's talent.

"He was on top of the world, the No. 1 prospect," Fife said. "Makes you not take things for granted."

Westmoreland always held out hope for a comeback. But a second surgery last year set him back further. He announced his retirement on Wednesday, at the age of 22.

For more, see the excellent Providence Journal story by Brian MacPherson. Westmoreland is from Rhode Island, and the Journal has followed his progress, and setbacks, thoroughly through the years.



About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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