Giving Thanks for Baseball: Ryan Westmoreland

Ryan in July 2009. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

There’s a meme all over the Internet this month where folks list something every day that they are thankful for.  I have a difficult time being that open about my real life online so I decided to modify it for my blog and make it about things I’m thankful for in relation to baseball.

I had planned to write about something relatively shallow (in comparison to what I’m actually writing about) this morning until I read this article by Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal about Ryan Westmoreland.

He has suffered no recent setbacks in his recovery from the surgery he underwent in mid-March to remove a cavernous malformation from his brain. He’s even regularly taking live batting practice two or three days a week.

“It’s more coordinated and more clear than it was,” he said with palpable enthusiasm. “Every time, it gets better. My eyes are seeing it better. My body is reacting. I’m at a real good pace. I’m not trying to rush anything, but I feel real good about hitting.”

The plan is for Westmoreland to spend most of the winter in Fort Myers — he’ll come back to Rhode Island for a couple of weeks for Christmas and New Year’s Day — all the way up until the start of spring training in February.

The idea that he’s not only recovering well, but able to do anything baseball-related this soon is inspiring to me.   It’s difficult for me to imagine that along with the regular recovery anyone going through rehabilitation post-brain surgery he can also focus on the physical aspects of baseball.  No one really knows how long it will take Ryan to fully recover and we have no idea if he’ll ever be able to truly play baseball on a professional level, but for now it’s encouraging to read these updates about how he is slowly getting back into his “normal” life.

So today, I’m thankful that Ryan Westmoreland is able to tweet and go to football games and hang out with his girlfriend…doing most of the things 20 year-olds should be able to do.  And I’m grateful that Brian MacPherson is keeping us up to date on him.

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