Wilson Ramos returns; Davey Johnson’s plans for the catchers

(Al Behrman / AP)

(Al Behrman / AP)

Wilson Ramos sat at his locker on Monday afternoon, fiddling with his cellphones before the game in Atlanta. He called for Mike Wallace, the team’s clubhouse manager, asking for something. Wallace asked, “Are you active?” Ramos, with a smile, responded affirmatively.

Ramos, after a setback in his season of redemption from major knee injuries, was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list on Monday and backup catcher Jhonatan Solano was optioned back to Class AAA Syracuse. Ramos was excited to be back with the Nationals after a minor left hamstring strain held him out since April 13, when he pulled up limp running out a groundball.

“I’m happy to be back,” he said. “Imagine, after going through so many bad things and to be back here, it’s like I’m calmer and happier to be back with the team.”

Ramos wanted to play Monday but Manager Davey Johnson is exercising caution with Ramos and starting Kurt Suzuki for the 14th time in the past 15 games.

“I treat hamstrings anything but lightly,” Johnson said. “He didn’t do anything (Sunday), he took the day completely off. Which told me he may have been a little sore from catching. We traveled, so I want to make sure he’s okay today. If he’s okay (Monday), he’ll play (Tuesday). I’m just being overly cautious. Just conforming with medical practices today. I’d rather be safe than sorry. That’s all.”

When Ramos and Suzuki were both available to start the season, Johnson alternated them. Johnson hopes to do the same now that both are again available. But soon Johnson will play the hotter hitter or take advantage of the matchups. Suzuki, used to playing every day in his career, thrived in Ramos’s absence, going 10 for 41 with four extra-base hits and five walks. Ramos, also right-handed, provided more power than Suzuki.

Ramos played two games for Class AA Harrisburg on a rehab assignment, catching three innings on Friday and six the following day. He went 2 for 4 with a walk. “I felt good, very good,” he said. “I didn’t feel any discomfort in the leg.”

Ramos will continue regular treatment and maintenance work on his left hamstring, as well as his right knee, which suffered a damaged ACL and torn meniscus last May and required two surgeries. He doesn’t plan to run any less hard on groundballs if the situation calls for it.

“In that moment, I tried to get an infield hit, it was when the pitcher deflected the ball,” he said. “It depends on the situation in the game and how I’m going to run. I’m going to keep doing the same, as long as I feel good and well.”

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