When the Nationals return home after a 10-game road trip, Wilson Ramos will test his recently-injured hamstring on Monday, Nationals Manager Matt Williams said before Saturday’s game. He said Ramos will begin ramping up his baseball activities early next week with strengthening exercises. Ramos said he may even be running and blocking balls as soon as Tuesday.
“It feels better,” Ramos said. “I almost don’t feel anything anymore. Pretty soon I won’t feel anything.”
Ramos is then expected to increase his activity with running and on-field hitting. After that, he is expected to play in minor league rehab games just before his return, Williams said. The Nationals anticipate Ramos, who has been on the disabled list since June 11 with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, to be ready to come off the DL as soon as he is eligible after 15 days on June 26.
“Unless he has a hiccup, I don’t see any issues with that because it wasn’t huge,” Williams said. “It wasn’t nearly as bad as the one last year at this point.”
Ramos took some light batting practice in the indoor batting cages at Busch Stadium before Saturday’s game because swinging isn’t affected by the hamstring. Beyond that, Ramos has been resting his legs since he re-strained his hamstring running to second base on June 10 in San Francisco. Similar to Adam LaRoche, who was on the disabled list with a quad strain, Ramos has been allowed to swing while on the disabled list, Williams said.
Ramos landed on the disabled list twice last season with hamstring strains and focused on training his legs this offseason. He has vowed again to tweak his training to find the right balance to prevent leg muscle injuries.
“I’m going to change my training and focus even more on my hamstrings and not work my upper body out so much, and work more on my agility,” he said. “And work on my running and speed, too. It’s been an issue these years. Before, I’ve tried to run hard and push myself.”
The Nationals, too, will urge Ramos to run more pre-game and perhaps cut down on his time in the bullpen with the starting pitcher.
“It’s hard for catchers because they don’t get as much of a chance to run like position players,” Williams said. “You see the position players go out and run their sprints and make sure that they’re loose before the game. Generally, the starting catcher is in the bullpen before the game. So it takes a little bit more effort for the starting catcher to get loose prior. We want to make sure he runs enough because that’s generally how he gets hurt and has an issue with the exception of the knee thing.
“As far as the pulled muscles go, he’s a heavy-bodied guy. He’s a big guy. So we have to take that into account and make sure he does enough running. That little adjustment prior to going out and catching the starter, potentially not doing as much down there and doing a little more running instead of catching the starter at the end. Those types of adjustments we’ll make.”