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Westmoreland on medical leave

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  March 13, 2010 07:03 PM

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This release from the Red Sox:

Red Sox minor league outfielder Ryan Westmoreland has been diagnosed with a cavernous malformation in his brain and has taken medical leave from minor league camp to seek treatment. General Manager Theo Epstein made the announcement.

“The entire Red Sox organization stands in support of Ryan as he courageously deals with this issue,” Epstein said. “Ryan is a remarkable kid and a talented player, and we understand that many will be concerned about his health. He is getting the best medical attention the world has to offer, and we will have more information soon. Until then — out of respect for Ryan’s privacy and at the request of the Westmoreland family — we will not have any further comment.”

Westmoreland, 19, left minor league camp on March 4. He was diagnosed the next day at Massachusetts General Hospital, had consultations with three leading experts in the field, and on Tuesday will have surgery with Dr. Robert Spetzler of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ.

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More on this story as it becomes available. The Red Sox did not release the statement until after all team officials had left the park. In doing some quick research, it sounds like patients can be treated successfully and lead normal lives.

A "cavernous malformation" is vascular and not a form of cancer. But surgery is needed only for the most serious cases that involve bleeding.

Obviously, here is hoping that Ryan has a speedy recovery. I had a chance to meet him over the winter and he is a very nice kid.

UPDATE, 8:16 p.m.: A cavernous malformation can be asymptomatic or cause a variety of problems up to and including death if not treated properly. It would seem in this case that Westmoreland is receiving the best treatment offered.

Information is scant about Ryan's case but hopefully it has been caught at a point where he can make a full recovery. Obviously there will be a better read on his health once he has the surgery and the malformation is removed.

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