Nationals Manager Matt Williams does not want Wilson Ramos to rush his return from the broken hamate bone he suffered opening day. And so Ramos’s results Friday afternoon at extended spring training made him conflicted.
“Fortunately and unfortunately, he hit two homers and a double,” Williams said.
Williams chuckled. In three innings in Viera, Fla., Ramos had no issues catching and pounded three baseballs. Williams, though, made sure to prioritize caution. He wants the snake-bitten catcher, who missed two months last year with hamstring strains, which came after he missed four months in 2012 to major knee surgery, to proceed with caution to avoid another injury.
“We don’t want to rush him too fast,” Williams said. “We want to make sure his legs are in shape.”
Before he headed to Florida, Ramos said he hoped he could return Monday, when the Nationals begin their homestand against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Williams said: “I don’t know how realistic that is. He’s been out for a month, roughly. Not catching, you just got to get back into the flow. You look at it in spring training, it takes them a long time to get going an maintain that. And I worry about his legs. I worry, given his history, that’s he’s fully in shape when he comes back.”
Williams said Ramos could return during the homestand, which consists of only three games against the Dodgers. He also eyed the Nationals’ series starting next Friday in Oakland, which will allow Williams to use Ramos as a designated hitter.
“It depends on how he does and how he feels,” Williams said.
The Nationals plan for Ramos to catch six innings Saturday, take Sunday off and then catch nine innings at an affiliate Monday.
Even if it only came in extended spring training, the power Ramos showed is a good sign. Many hitters have been slow to recapture power after undergoing hamate bone surgery.
Meanwhile, right-handed pinch hitter Scott Hairston, who has been out since April 6 with an oblique strain, went 1 for 3 with a double Thursday night in a rehab game at Class AAA Syracuse. “He’s almost there,” Williams said.
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who broke his thumb three weeks ago, has yet to make significant progress. The Nationals expected him to miss four to six weeks, a timetable Williams said hasn’t changed. But Zimmerman has yet to pass an X-ray test that will allow him to begin strengthening activities in his hand, Williams said.