Red Sox minor leaguer Ryan Westmoreland is scheduled to step in a batter's box for live batting practice on Wednesday in Fort Myers. It will be the first time since undergoing surgery on March 16, 2010, to remove a cavernous malformation on his brain stem that Westmoreland stands in against a pitcher throwing at full speed off a mound.
The development was viewed as a significant milestone by the 21-year-old, who had progressed to hitting off a pitching machine after months of taking soft batting practice.
"March 16, 2010. God doesn't deal cards to people who can't handle them. BIG day," Westmoreland wrote on his twitter account.
The focus of today's batting practice session iis for Westmoreland to reacclimate to tracking pitches coming out of a pitcher's hand; for now, that will be the priority, rather than swinging at game-speed pitches.
Even so, stepping into a batter's box for batting practice against a pitcher throwing live batting practice (at full velocity) represents a potentially important stepping stone. The Sox and Westmoreland have set a soft goal of giving the outfielder an at-bat in a game -- most likely in either Florida Instructional League or the Dominican Instructional League -- by the end of this year. By stepping into a box against a pitcher on the mound, Westmoreland has edged closer to fulfilling that goal.
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