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Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Westmoreland returns to Fenway Park

By Joe McDonald

BOSTON –- Red Sox minor leaguer Ryan Westmoreland visited Fenway Park for the third time this season with his family, and each time he has received a hero’s welcome.

Westmoreland, 20, who was selected by the Red Sox in the sixth round (172nd overall) of the 2008 draft, had brain surgery three months ago and is slowly recovering. Returning to baseball is his goal, but living a normal everyday life is more important right now.

In addition to visiting Fenway, he’s been able to go to Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland just to keep him involved and close with the organization has he continues to rehab.

“It feels great, even watching on TV is great,” he said. “But just to come here it’s good to hang out with the guys and sit in the dugout with my family and girlfriend. It’s a good experience and definitely different than being in the stands or in the [luxury] box, but to be down here is special.”

Westmoreland has returned to baseball activities and once a week he and a physical therapist go to Cardines Field in Newport, R.I., which is just a hit-and-run away from his hometown of Portsmouth. He’s been able to play catch at 60 feet and run the bases.

“My accuracy is pretty close to 100 and I’ve been doing a few home-to-home around the bases and hard sprints to first,” Westmoreland explained. “It’s good just because two weeks ago I couldn’t do that kind of stuff and to be doing it now, and feeling good about it, and feeling good afterward, I have the feeling of getting in a good workout.

“It’s special because I know I’m closer and every time I get to do some more, it’s one step closer to my ultimate goal,” he said.

Westmoreland doesn’t have to come to Fenway to hear from his friends. He continually receives emails, text messages and phone calls from his baseball buddies.

“It’s been amazing,” he said. “It’s great because I know they are thinking about me. It’s definitely special.”