Just over three weeks after left hamate bone surgery, Wilson Ramos took early batting practice on the field on Friday afternoon under the watchful eye of a trainer.The swings were more for Ramos to see how he can manage the pain in his left hand and less about regaining his timing. He has been swinging a lighter bat in the batting cages for a week.
The scar on his left hand is healing and he is more than a week into his rehab, but he has progressed well.
Ramos “looked good,” Manager Matt Williams said. “He’s gotta get strength back and all of that. But so far so good. Pretty fast, all things considered.”
This weekend, Ramos will take part in defensive drills and catch a light bullpen session for the first time, another step in his recovery process. Coaches Randy Knorr, Bobby Henley and Matt LeCroy, all former catchers, will supervise the catching activities, which will likely include a coach throwing light pitches to Ramos behind the plate.
Ramos underwent the surgery to remove a broken hamate bone on April 2. The injury forced him to leave the season opener on March 31. Hamate bone surgery is known to sap power from hitters when they return. But Ramos’s rehab work will be doubly hard: The catcher uses his left hand on every play, catching every pitch at a much higher velocity than the average fielder.
“Swinging the bat is one thing; you have two hands on it,” Williams said. “But being a catcher is completely different. … But the strength of catching the ball, that’s the key. Swinging the bat is one thing but 100 plus times [catching] in the game doing that he’s gotta make sure that he can do that properly to make sure he can play again.”
Ramos will use a modified glove that has an extra pad over his left wrist. His timetable for return — originally said to be between four and eight weeks — hinges on how his hand responds to increased activity and pain.
“We’ll see where we’re at at the end of the weekend and what we can and can’t do,” Williams said. “So far it’s been pretty good.”