BALTIMORE -- Less than six months after he underwent surgery to remove a cavernous malformation on his brain stem, Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland has rejoined the Class A Lowell Spinners to familiarize himself with baseball life once again.
The 20-year-old will work out with the Spinners through Thursday and then move on to Class A Greenville, S.C., in the South Atlantic League. The emphasis will be on reestablishing a routine for the player hailed as a top prospect in the Red Sox's organization after he hit .296 with seven homers and 35 RBIs for Lowell of the short-season New York-Penn League in 2009.
The news brought a smile to the face of Westmoreland's friend, Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava, who ate dinner with the recovering player last week in Boston.
"[Westmoreland] wants to get back out on the field and get back to what he's really good at, which is baseball," Nava said. "To see the progress he's made since this whole thing happened is not only impressive, but it puts things in perspective. At one point, it wasn't about baseball, it was about whether he was going to [survive the surgery]."
Nava said being in familiar surroundings around the game Westmoreland loves will have a therapeutic effect on him.
"I think it will be a big deal for him. ... I'm sure it was tough, because he wanted to be back and he wasn't physically ready," Nava said. "Now he's making those final steps and he's getting close, hopefully it will provide that motivation to get past whatever he's got left to allow him to get back on the field. To see him excited about being able to get back on the field is exciting for me."
Epstein not raising white flag on season
BALTIMORE -- General manager Theo Epstein looks at the standings and knows the dire straits that face the Red Sox. But on the day he dealt away veteran reliever Manny Delcarmen to the Rockies for a Minor League pitcher, Epstein insisted he wasn't waving a white flag of surrender.
The Red Sox began play Tuesday seven games behind the Yankees and Rays, who are tied for first in the American League East and AL Wild Card standings.
"It's not impossible. I'm not going to blow smoke and say we're right where we want to be. We're not," Epstein said. "We've got to get extremely hot and catch some breaks along the way. That's why we're here, trying to win these games and make that happen.
"It's not that it is a likelihood or that we're in a perfect position to do that. We're not.''
Injuries, inconsistency and spotty starting pitching have conspired to derail a once-promising season for the Sox. The schedule doesn't get any easier in the final weeks of the season, with a home-and-home series totaling seven games against the White Sox, who are four games back in the AL Central, and a West Coast road trip featuring stops in Oakland and Seattle. The A's are falling out of contention in the AL West and fighting to remain at or above .500, while the Mariners are fading fast and trying to avoid 100 losses.
Tuesday's game at Camden Yards is the first of three against Baltimore, which has experienced a resurgence under new manager Buck Showalter. The Orioles, then floundering under former skipper Dave Trembley, swept three games from Boston from April 30-May 2. Boston also hosts the Orioles from Sept. 20-22.
September also features a three-game homestand against Tampa Bay, which took two of three from Boston at Tropicana Field last weekend; three home games against Toronto; and a home-and-home series against the Yankees, including the final weekend of the season at Fenway Park.
Sixteen of Boston's final 31 games will be played on the road.
"We need to get really hot to make this thing interesting, really hot -- hotter than we've gotten at any point during the year," Epstein said. "We haven't done that yet. It doesn't mean we can't do that."
Hermida released from PawSox
BALTIMORE -- Following their 5-2 loss to the Orioles on Tuesday night, the Red Sox announced they had released outfielder Jeremy Hermida from Triple-A Pawtucket.
The 26-year-old Hermida was acquired from Florida for Minor League left-handers Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez on Nov. 5. Hermida hit .203 with five homers and 27 RBIs in 52 games with the Red Sox, his first full-time taste of the American League.
He was on the 15-day disabled list from June 11-July 22 with fractured ribs sustained in a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre, then was designated for assignment in a series of roster moves at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Hermida went to Pawtucket, hopeful that he could earn his way back to Boston.
In 19 games at Pawtucket, Hermida hit .288 with two homers and 12 RBIs.
Salty, Patterson to be activated Wednesday
BALTIMORE -- Fresh off Minor League rehabilitation assignments with Triple-A Pawtucket, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and utility man Eric Patterson have rejoined the Red Sox and are targeted to be activated Wednesday, when rosters are expanded to 40 players.
Manager Terry Francona said both players would work out with the Red Sox on Tuesday before the opener of a three-game series at Camden Yards against the Orioles and then be activated Wednesday.
Patterson, who played center field and was 0-for-4 with the PawSox on Monday night, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 17, retroactive to Aug. 16, with a neck strain. Saltalamacchia, who caught and went 1-for-3 on Monday night, was disabled on Aug. 19, retroactive to Aug. 16, with an infection in his right lower leg.
Francona is particularly interested in seeing how Saltalamacchia, acquired July 31 from Texas in exchange for three Minor Leaguers and cash considerations, works behind the plate. Saltalamacchia could also get a look at first base, the manager said.
"[Saltalamacchia] hasn't played very much [first base]," Francona said. "We're obviously interested to watch him catch. He's gone out to first base, but it hasn't been very much."
General manager Theo Epstein said that the Red Sox could summon one more player from Pawtucket once rosters expand, but not before the PawSox's season ends on Labor Day.
Epstein cautioned against reading too much into players' performances over the season's final weeks as a gauge of future production.
"September can be a misleading time to evaluate players based on performance. But it's not a bad time if you're getting to know a player," Epstein said. "Find out what makes him tick, get a first-hand read on his skills, his tools, the way they apply to the game, and someone's instincts, too. I think September can be valuable [in that way]."
Right-hander Junichi Tazawa joined the Red Sox in Baltimore on Tuesday and will stay with the team to continue his rehab through the six-game homestand that begins Friday night at Fenway Park. Tazawa has been on the 60-day disabled list for the entire season while recovering from Tommy John surgery performed April 6. ... Team physician Dr. George Theodore, who is on a family vacation in Baltimore, will take a look at injured second baseman Dustin Pedroia (left foot soreness) and catcher Jason Varitek (fractured right foot) over the next couple of days.
Pete Kerzel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.