Westmoreland participates in spring training

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Westmoreland participates in spring training

Ryan Westmoreland is happy to take it all in.

Last March, he underwent brain surgery to have a cavernous malformation removed from his brain stem. Now, less than a year later, he's in Fort Myers, rehabbing and working out with members of the Red Sox organization for spring training.

He knows there's a long road in front of him before he's able to return to playing baseball, but for now, he's happy he's progressed to the point that he can participate in "baseball activities."

"Doing the things I'm doing now feels great," he said. "I feel more blessed to be out here, just around my buddies and to have a second chance at life . . . that's special for me.

"I've taken it for granted in the past. Just the little drills. I know I'm inspiring and helping a lot of the guys out there because there's stuff they think is monotonous, but if you look at the rehab I'm doing, it makes them appreciate it more."

There is no timetable for when Westmoreland can play again. He says it's better that way.

"I've never had too many long-term goals," he said. "It's about staying even headed, and taking it one day at a time. If I get ahead of myself, I'm going to be expecting too much of myself . . . It's just a day at a time, keep it short and get better every day. That's really my goal and I don't plan on changing it."

For now, the plan is to enjoy his time at spring training, and remain thankful he's progressed as much as he has.

"It's nice to be out in a baseball environment with my friends," he said. "It's different than being in a rehab facility."

He continued, "I'm just excited to keep it going and see what lies ahead."

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

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Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.

Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack. 

The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)

Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.

A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.

Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.

An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.