Doctor: Westmoreland on the right track

Updated: March 20, 2010, 12:53 AM ET
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland is out of intensive care after undergoing five hours of brain surgery Tuesday, and his surgeon expressed encouragement at his progress, according to a statement released by the team Friday night. Westmoreland, who underwent surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Ariz., has been transferred into the hospital's neuro-rehabilitation unit, according to Dr. Robert Spetzler, who performed the surgery.

There, Spetzler said, Westmoreland, a 19-year-old Rhode Island native, will undergo physical and occupational therapy. "Ryan is right on track and we expect progressive improvement," Spetzler said.

To date, the team has not released any information detailing what neurological functions, if any, were impacted as a result of the cavernous malformation that was removed from his brain stem. A cavernous malformation, or angioma, is a congenital condition comprised of an abnormal cluster of capillaries or tiny blood vessels.

The likelihood is a few more days are required before doctors can make a full assessment of Westmoreland's condition, according to one source with direct knowledge of the surgery.

But the Red Sox are greatly encouraged by Spetzler's early assessment.

"We are thrilled for Ryan and his family that the surgery went so well," general manager Theo Epstein said in the statement. "While we recognize that the recovery process is long and complicated, we are excited that all of the early indications are so positive. On behalf of the Westmoreland family, we thank everybody who has expressed concern and support for Ryan."

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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