Outfielder Ryan Westmoreland, a Rhode Island native once considered the top prospect in the Red Sox organization, announced his retirement from baseball on Wednesday.
Westmoreland, 22, has undergone two brain surgeries in the last three years (his most recent came last July) to correct a cavernous malformation.
In a pretty heartbreaking email sent to sent to several media outlets in the Boston area, Westmoreland made it clear that he was at peace with the decision and was searching for closure in his tough personal battle. The email reads as follows:
With a clear mind and heart, as well as the unwavering support and friendship of my family, friends, agent(s), doctors, therapists, and the Boston Red Sox, I have decided to voluntarily retire as a professional baseball player.
Although it is a very difficult decision for me, it has become clear that the neurological damage caused by the most recent cavernous malformation and surgery leaves me with physical challenges that make it impossible to play the game at such a high level.
In my heart, I know that I have worked as hard as one possibly could to overcome the obstacles presented by this unfortunate series of events. It is with that confidence that I am comfortable turning the page.”
Westmoreland, a sixth-round pick in the 2008 draft, passed up a scholarship to Vanderbilt in favor of a $2 million bonus from the Red Sox, but says he plans to pursue a degree and eventually a non-playing career in baseball.
He played one season, hitting .296 with the Lowell Spinners in 2009.