Westmoreland cleared to start playing

DALLAS — Globe colleague Nick Cafardo was first with the news that Ryan Westmoreland has been cleared to play and will soon start DH'ing in the Dominican Republic Instructional League. Westmoreland, once the top prospect in the Red Sox system, underwent brain surgery in March of 2010 and has not played since. He has progressed methodically in Fort Myers to the point where he was taking live batting practice. Now comes game action later this week. Westmoreland, who turns 22 in April, was a five-tool outfielder out of Rhode Island. If this step goes well, he could be able to join a minor league team next season. A few other notes from the Winter Meetings: • The lack of shortstops on the market has served to increase the value of Jed Lowrie. The Sox are dealing with some surplus at that spot and could be in position to make a trade. • Former Houston pitching coach Brad Arnsberg could make sense for the Red Sox. He has experience with Josh Beckett. • Oakland is a team to keep an eye on in the trade market. Their uncertain future has Billy Beane in a position where he could need to clear away salary. The Sox could find some of the pitching they need there.

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