Westmoreland back to being one of the guys

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Westmoreland back to being one of the guys

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. A little over a year ago, Ryan Westmoreland was getting ready to begin his second season of professional baseball. A 2009 New York-Penn League All-Star for the Lowell Spinners, named by Baseball America as the Red Sox No. 1 prospect and the NYPLs top prospect, Westmoreland had every reason to be excited for the start of a new season.

But in early March 2010, he was diagnosed with a cavernous malformation in his brain. He required surgery, which was performed in Arizona and initially took his sight, his hearing in one ear, and his motor functions. His future was uncertain. His baseball future was barely a consideration then.

I tried to not let that cross my mind, but it was kind of inevitable, he said. I had the days where I was really down on myself, and I said, You know, am I going to play again? I was really unsure about the future . . . I just really tried to limit the days that I got down on myself.

But he is back playing baseball now. Hes not ready for games yet. But, at the minor-league camp at the player development complex, Westmoreland works out, just as all the minor-leaguers do.

I feel great, he said. Just to be on the field again and be doing baseball activities is one thing. But to be doing it at a level that I'm doing it now, at a really advanced level. I feel like I'm performing pretty well in the cages and on the field there. So, overall, I feel great about not only being on the field but about performing as well.

Hes doing just about everything, he said taking batting practice, throwing, running required of a baseball player. Just as important, hes doing it with the other players and not by himself.

I'm not to the caliber I was last year, he said. I'm doing sprints, doing some long-distance stuff as far as condition. I'm doing most of the things that every other player is doing. And hitting, I go about it in a way that every player does their own hitting. Everybody does batting practice. It's just good to just be able to fit into the mold of all the professional baseball players and not kind of seeing the one odd guy out taking batting practice by himself now. I'm taking it with the team and everybody. It's a good feeling.

His short-term goals are simple.

Immediate goal is just all these little things, he said. Just trying to smooth them out, the running, the hitting, the eyesight, everything. I'm just trying to smooth them out and get them to where I know was last year prior to all the symptoms. So really no long-term goals, just short day-to-day goals that if I keep succeeding, the day ahead is going to lead what I want.

He still gets fatigued. He still has occasional problems with his balance.

But, I started out with basically nothing and now I'm at a very advanced level, he said. And the Red Sox staff and the doctors were all impressed.

He doesnt know when hell be ready to play in games again. He has no timetable for that, but he knows it will take care of itself.

I just feel like when I'm ready to play, when I feel like I'm going to be able to perform well, I'm going to go out there and play, he said. The goal at the end of the day is always get to Fenway. If it happens, it happens. If not, it doesn't. But, of course, the sooner the better. I'm just hoping for the best every day and if I play, it's going to be meant to be. If not, it's also meant to be. So, we'll see what happens.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."