When Manager Jim Riggleman mapped out the schedule for the Nationals’ catching situation, he planned for Ivan Rodriguez and Wilson Ramos to alternate every other day for the first nine games of the season. With the seventh game coming today, Riggleman is ready to grant more games to Ramos, whose offensive production in a limited sample has dwarfed Rodriguez’s.
“As we move forward, [Ramos is] going to get more and more playing time,” Riggleman said. “I don’t think he’s at a point where being a No. 2 catcher is really going to benefit us or him. He’s going to move in there and just play more and more as we go.”
Ramos has five hits, all singles, in his first 14 at-bats. Ramos, 23, has far more power potential than Rodriguez, 39. Riggleman plans to use Ramos almost exclusively against left-handed starting pitchers in order to take advantage of his home run threat.
Rodriguez, meantime, has started the season 0 for 10 with eight groundouts, a strikeout and one ball that has left the infield. His defense remains sharp, and he still shows flashes of what made him perhaps the greatest defensive catcher in baseball history.
“Pudge is catching and throwing as well as he has in years,” Riggleman said. “He’s blocking balls. He’s just a great athlete behind the plate. Offensively, Pudge is trying to do some things. He’s trying to stay inside the ball, hit the ball to right field. It’s not an easy adjustment for Pudge to get his stroke going, to have two days off and play. That’s a tough adjustment. What we want from Pudge is for to just continue to catch and block balls and throw well and work with that pitching. We’ll take the hits as they come.”