FORT MYERS, Fla. — The retirement of Ryan Westmoreland made Wednesday a tough day for the Red Sox.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who knows Westmoreland well, said it was hard to think about how much potential the outfielder had before undergoing two brain surgeries. Westmoreland was ranked as one of the top 25 prospects in the game after his one season in the minors.
“I never got to play with him other than in spring training, but I’ve seen video of him playing and he would have been one of the best ballplayers to come through this organization,” Middlebrooks said. “You know when guys have it, and he had it.”
General manager Ben Cherington got to know Westmoreland and his family better than he ever imagined.
“Ryan’s a remarkable young man,” Cherington said. “He was an incredibly talented baseball player, a special, special talent as a baseball player. We got to know him more as a person after the first incident a few years back and we’ve come to learn he’s more of an even special person.”
Cherington said that Westmoreland inspired people in the organization with his courage and the grace with which he handled a difficult situation.
“For some reason, we don’t all get dealt the same hand and some of those hands aren’t fair, and he got dealt a bad hand,” Cherington said. “But there’s a path for him he’s going to find and there’s going to be a lot of happiness in his future.”
Part of Westmoreland’s initial contract with the Red Sox included college expenses. Cherington said he urged Westmoreland to “step away” from the team and take some time to decide his future.