Mar 26, 2012|
Red Sox minor league prospect Ryan Westmoreland is now two years removed from the life-saving and life-changing surgery to remove a cavernous malformation on his brain stem. Since his release from the hospital in 2010, he has rehabbed tirelessly in Fort Myers, initially focusing almost exclusively on the recovery of fine motor skills, but eventually returning to a focus on baseball. Towards that end, Westmoreland had something of a watershed moment in December, when for the first time in more than 21 months, he got at-bats in games in the Dominican Instructional League. In this episode of Minor Details, Westmoreland discusses his progress as a baseball player in the last year and his goals going forward.
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This episode of minor details I'm thrilled to be able to welcome Ryan Westmoreland Brian thanks so much -- sitting down with me in Fort Myers. So. You've spent a lot of time in Fort Myers at this point this is now home for you are saying are you let -- say that are is that when you get you in trouble with people in in Rhode -- In New England now and then I think they understand than pretty missed three years straight down and actually have a Condo say it's a good day literally live here too so. But you know it's baseball that -- happens and on China deal with the new move for and. So because you spend so much time in spring training aiming for a lot of guys like. The act of arriving in Fort Myers represents the start of the new season you know in their coming from elsewhere they're coming from their winners and home. And then they're starting something over. You are here all the time. Does you know when when the clock and the calendar hits sometime in February sometime in March do you feel like it's the start of a new season at this point. I don't think Aiken says. You know -- guys get here in early February. You can tell of their rejuvenated ready to go in for me it's not but I'm not rejuvenated and ready. -- seven have become a time off a must these guys and it's really never and I haven't yet to have an offseason so. When I get here it's kind of just. I -- -- here in Gaza for showing up so. You know it's got them positive because and of the way everything's working -- the new complex. Com and everything how everything works and you know so businesses the the key reason. It's I'm sure is nice that I understand me could grow very good friends there and and just try to get to work in and gives -- the motivation whenever he gets there is the gets an honest re having every day just by yourself. Suffer. The guys come down and it's you know motivates and drives me as well. So you're now more than more than two years removed from march 16 2010 which you know is of course the date of -- surgery I don't mean to remind you of that you have. That -- undermined and also on your arm. -- -- -- -- How much is that still part of your of your data to -- could mean you know are you at the point where things have progressed so much and we're probably going to get -- Replied I -- probably subjecting you to imminent danger by sitting. Under under fly balls that are coming out from BP. But how much of it are you you know you you've had a lot of great life events going forward from there I mean first as it's worth. Offering congratulations on your engagement. How how different is is your life now than it was perhaps a year ago at this time. I think this that day you'll always be an impact -- whether it's one year two years or forty years from now I think always remember this day it and -- I've grown from a and it's only been two years and -- run around you said they've seen changed not only physically but mentally you know more and -- appreciate everything and do. Not take anything for granted and so far as being good and you know -- they'll lose sight of how about day march 16 affected my whole life and it's only been two years that I know there's a lot more to go and on the forgot. How do you feel how do you feel this spring what's it like you know I know how. You know it is a rehab process that you know initially it was a rehab process that was -- To make sure that quality of life is great that a became the process of you know becoming you know baseball player and improving his baseball player. Where do you feel that processes at this point. Definitely better than ever physically if create. You know there's there's things in my game -- -- -- moving now in a small minor. Mechanics -- they running and throwing. But overall. I think I feel really comfortable of everything. Kind of worried that I how I -- there how people would perceive him more. More comfortable my abilities that. I can confuse these guys and I never really got that thing I feel like now it's a more of one of the guys then one of the rehab guys that just had brain surgery and means a lot to me because there was a long time narrows. Meant to be worried about what it looks like here you know why it wasn't as good as that run that cut things though for me. Kind of lose that thought and feel like one of the guys again is it's big for me and I know. It means a lot ninety minutes ago was thought that router in everything in it's just great to be back in the team atmosphere and kinda. You know hang on the club bouts it and be in the training room 24 hours -- -- am kinda. That is more social. Not a mystery like you said more of this. Getting back to baseball and you know I'm doing really well with hopefully can. -- what's the part of your game I Indy we we talked about this a year ago when -- said. You know sometimes because your progress in advance a two point it was difficult to appreciate incremental improvements that you're making. And I'm sure you know that that -- becomes more and more of the cases as time progresses and as you become. You know as you become further and further removed from you know from the surgery and and from hospitalization and you know further and further -- -- in your baseball career. Looking you know argue how do you how do you measure your progress is a baseball player you have to kind of how how do you get I had no comparisons between where you are now over swear you were six months ago twelve months ago. -- leaning on this stuff. You know there at the point where I can just physically see that I wasn't wire want to be -- now it's kind of evolved -- -- I'm working with coach is on real small things you know -- my back my back side -- where I'm heading then. Just try to hit the ball in on now it's kind of more mechanical things it's. Which is huge for me because like I said there is that time more just fun to make contact the footballer. Just throw it straighter whatever it was. And now it's kind of like the leaning on the coaching is it's into the well or it's just -- mechanics. And you know the big picture. And you know it's. It's -- grade just is that have been able to work with you know organizations. That -- things they do about so. It's nice got to get that one on one time in the -- lying then. You know again it keeps things this IDC didn't occasions say okay just had this ball and you know because that means causes at a point are. -- would they were worried about my backside you know those. Kind of just you know hit the ball and the mental side rule of confidence of -- that the ball now I know I can of the ball it's just how I go about doing it. Who I go about asking advice from and you know -- -- from there. Are you working with those closely Victor Rodriguez these are are -- as the best C certainly is from day one nights on an LA and you know like -- changed me -- better. I mean he is one of those guys that says you know you got here you can -- So it in need to change all these you know it's batting stance of saying it's not at. And it's just guide you to get where you wanted to be in the studies done from day one and you know I can -- enough. You said that this side that the distinction between offseason -- in season is different for you than for other guys who don't spend earlier in Fort Myers. You did have kind of a different marker at the end of five the end of you know -- what's considered the end of the 2011 season namely you know in December. You know it it was side it was a pretty big deal you know at the winner I remember. You know hearing at the start of baseball's winter meetings that you were going down to the Dominican and you're going to be playing. In some games. -- -- It was you know is incredible. The days leading up to that I am. Knew about it and I was really nervous but it kind of -- and you know once the butterflies and you know this is real. Has it been so long and athletic and has lost sight of you know what it felt like. But you know what does expect what those hoping for really came. In real life where I kind of dug in the batter's box that was just instincts took over and I was worried about. Any mechanics in my slang I just knew that. You know I can head I can these guys and overall game non mean being comfortable on those very comfortable on there and I think it showed a -- is pretty well and you know out of blocks which she was is huge especially for a guy in my situation. As easy for me to just sit there and and got to go about my business and go home. But I had a blouse -- not the best speaking Spanish but I try and you know I made good friends down there and it was just overall grade. Rates and was there anyone there who you knew I mean you know it's. A lot of the guys were a lot of the front office guys who have been through you have been through a lot of them with you through a lot of the process we're at the winter meetings I know even though. Even though they were they were discussing they were excitedly getting updates of on you from there. I know you well with any family if if there were coaches. Who you knew and you know we've been working with over the last couple years or if you were truly thrown into afford environment -- just kind of this chance for you to enjoy. Being on the baseball field and kind of a movement for yourself. Youth is -- -- that I one dollar third physical they're questioned Simpson but of nice -- kinda get thrown into it and I know I think Rocco for are asked my dad and I'm numb my -- if they want to go down but you know this is this this time we don't wanna putting extra pressure on him will get the updates than. Just got to go fund then you know email us is there's no cellphone service element though. Canada's team now in you know and I got home in big party and I get to Tug ready of Bowden. The I mean chip we're kinda throw and there -- new a couple of guys just from the GC that enhance the coaching stuff. It was the whole new world for -- the first time laid out there. Eleven of the guys throughout America right because we're drafted in your class yep yep yep its -- in those guys and still a little different the first time I went about you know just like the first time -- -- Conan bots in these guys. You know I think a lot of it is -- the first time but meant a little more this time. In terms of you know what it was like to be in the box. What struck you the most about you know perhaps you know something you know what was familiar what you were able to do what you -- standing in a box in that game situation. I'm really it was it was pretty surprising to me is very pleasantly surprised. How I saw the ball and I basically it's a BP in soft edges on the right these and I get done at the Dominican and first in a -- four pitches in two -- three of lefties so. You know credit -- got a kid me about -- -- -- test you would certainly was and that's that's where I was surprised that myself you know good way. My guys saw a lot of breaking balls of course at the and you know I solemn while didn't bail out and kinda stuff that I figured I've tried would -- -- and signal left in three years. I figured I'd rather have trouble seeing it an arm angle. I really didn't really happy about it. Like -- that I first about this by about a sudden as some of sliders from. And then they'll -- lock -- out of the whole thing. When I really felt the bouts as you know laughs that go ahead in this -- So in. Only Miette and like you know what it's sad that a good time -- man. -- go forward from there. Feel good to get hit by a pitch that must have been the first time in three years for that as well is never felt about it just the whereabouts by the bomb Arafat's on the spine. Yeah denies about a London. You know laws of the tunnel in the -- because it's kind of like getting hit -- this. After that I can remember it feels like intent the next that you know part of the game and only make you stronger. Not not renewing your familiarity with charging the mound and not yet in in those thinking about today. But you know I don't wanna do sprinted. There. Naive the other guys are really good men and found that those three in Andy's the guns are in. Of course world growth -- but it is you know nothing serious. It was just fun I mean and about it -- them fund. Being out there and not a whole experience to good time. How different was in noteworthy the month that ensued between that time in December and these. In our next two to three months before all the rest of your teammates came to Fort Myers. You know just knowing you know just having that having that feeling and you know and be able to know what it was like to play in games ago. Yeah -- use you know being around the teammates for so long I didn't I was able ahead of it and have to do anything about. This time they came down my dad dead and a box and since most of them so you know some from the previous sprang. You know I got in the box they got a bunch of thousands of those they've. And you know there are all very happy form in you know mentally is huge because I knew that I was -- Just the kid is in the training room all day as the guys I've got -- -- have been on the KJ every day. Do you mostly what I realized is doing that that's ultimately big thing for -- How close do you feel like you're to be union in the next set of games you know whether. In I believe that you have not have you started facing live pitching down here -- a -- rumors tomorrow but it. Didn't. Can neither confirmed nor denied. So. But do you you know do you get the sense based on where you are in your progress where you know are you. And you were so you were you were very articulate about this a year ago not getting ahead of yourself -- the milestones. But that's something else that's been dangled in front of me that's a different experience that you've been. You've been offered so you know do you do you find yourself asking when am I going to be getting back in the games now. I know that the you know the organization. Is really you know listening into well I have to say which is which is great for me. And personnel feel ready and I feel -- it can't go far away but ultimately ultimately it's not my hands he knows they're called but. I'm I'm sure one you know they see a meridian and tell mom read that. It's gonna -- -- on the corner and you know it's an open for physically and you know meant that is good come ready to play and that. So I don't think it's far off. But again within a -- wanted to make the ultimate decision. But. I'm ready I'm ready to go and then of. The Burgos. There is that defined goal of getting into the game whether that was in follow instructs whether that was Dominican instructs which ultimately ended up being resulting in the other passport -- for you. Do you is very defines you know it to find something -- working you know what is that what is the defined goal. If you have one of you won it. Right now you know I just I only gut. Right five about six about the minute -- now -- I just keep on not charging go from there. A film ready you know that I'm gonna be able to produce like that didn't invent it and it's only a bettors though. Effective by and just go out there and worry about. Little aspects of the game's gonna get better and not so look -- know looking forward and saying one start playing in the outfield and hitting third and hitting twenty home runs it's just some wanna give back in the box and just feel comfortable -- today and I know if I do that ultimately am gonna be doing while on. That's that's the hope. How you know where do you see yourself you know at this point how close do you see yourself to being you know to being that guy who you know was able to start you know just. Kind of you know reacting you know in the batter's box driving the ball you know during the ball as as you know in that familiar feeling I think. -- pretty close I -- and in batting practice I feel I feel almost like I'm thinking too much and I GIA. You know being in a game it's going to be instincts taking over and once that happens I feel like you know. When my instincts take over its gonna view us thinking in mortgages doing in. I think that the best thing form here and now is just get in the box and -- your instincts take over and you know hoping that old produce good results but that's not in it's. I mean get a lot of a bass I don't know where I don't know when I know it's gonna happen and I know you know not realize it can get to me in. To strive to do the best in the play Andy's -- Mike Hazen I I think had a conversation with you last year in which he said it you've done great you've met every goal that we've set in front view. Now it's time for you to kind of set the pace in net in your rehab and in what you're going to do what does that mean and how did that change the course of what you end up doing last year. You know just that he set owes more on me I got to. You know voice my opinion it's a lot more not that I hadn't before about. I was able to say you know I I think I'm ready to do this there I'm ready to -- running the bases around our cameras to start taking these and you know work with him I jumped to second. So being able to do that made me feel a little more independent that I could come -- dictated the path that I attack. You know still being guided by them. But you know having the independents in. Being able to tell them you know what I'm not ready for the camera before is big for me because. It allowed me the freedom to push myself but -- the same time. I can push myself so far in you know kind of test the on the. Testing the limits you know how much you know we you know your goal has been your goal had been to. You know to get -- game I mean how you know do you allow yourself to into the future. Towards you know what you are progressing towards. And you know and how long you're willing to go you know how are you willing to go in order to kind of you know fulfill whatever goals you have as a as a baseball players -- professional baseball player. Yeah you know I'm willing to test the limits and push myself as long as they can until. Some it tells me can do it anymore her I can. Honestly look at myself in the mirror and say you know it's just not gonna work out. I don't see it happening any time soon and I I go to bed every night -- -- too good or bad day knowing. I'm ready to play baseball tomorrow and you know I can look back at how -- -- has been. And be able to say you know ever you've been through the words those just you know. -- -- is smooth ride but you know it's smoother than it was then. I plan on you know testing elements as long as they can. How much you're time is spent just during baseball stuff vs rehab stuff at this point I would say it's. 90% this -- -- of this plan that must be awesome it's incredible I mean there's the part where it is. You know 99%. -- 1% baseball. You know it's just comes down to being comfortable with everything in. On the lungs and comfortable and like you go out there and this thing out with the guys and do my do my thing baseball wise and you know that guy in the training room all day. There is a lot of stuff than you do in the training -- so but. For the most part of story about you know reporting a certain earlier time to do re like -- London about the players and that's big for me. So is. You live in Fort Myers it's now your home but. Is there a sense that you know maybe maybe I'll be able to get out of here this year. Well I hope so I mean yeah I spent enough time done and I'm sure my Condo won't mind me get a break for them in now. What voter Doug might he might he's come with I don't know where umbrella but he's right. But you know us. Not up to me in the end. You know whoever they think that I'm ready to play I'm giving -- to open. Well higher up than I'm thinking -- lower. That's an interest on the opportunity to play this game again. It's been so long that you know low level warm and indeed as the road matters bounces you know complained saying gaming group plan. Ryan thanks so much for joining it's always great to be able to catch up and you know really one of one of the highlights of you know of my last couple of springs so. You know any any updates we get from you I think our proceed with eagerness and with with great pleasure so thanks for doing so anti government.