Thirteen days after he was kidnapped in front of his home, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos made his season debut tonight for the Aragua Tigers in the Venezuelan winter league. Ramos batted cleanup as the designated hitter and went 0 with 5 in the Tigers’ 6-4 loss to La Guaira.
Ramos’s performance, in his first game since the end of the Nationals season in September, paled in comparison to the simple fact he took the field. On Nov. 9, Ramos was taken at gunpoint outside his house in Valencia, Venezuela and held for 51 hours before a team of 30 Venezuelan commandoes made a dramatic rescue.
Ramos practiced with the Tigers shortly after his rescue, and he flew back to Washington late last week in order to meet with front officials and so team doctors could evaluate him. Ramos returned to Venezuela on Friday night, and tonight he played in a game. The Nationals and MLB put extra security measures in place for Ramos, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said.
Ramos has talked frequently since the ordeal that he wants to put the kidnapping behind him and focus on baseball, on his career. Tonight, even as his team lost and he made five outs, surely helped him on that front.