The Nationals activated catcher Wilson Ramos from the 15-day disabled list before Thursday night’s game in Chicago. To make room, the Nationals optioned catcher Sandy Leon to Class AAA Syracuse, opting to keep an extra arm in the bullpen and play with one fewer bench player.
Ramos missed 14 games with a strained right hamstring. He played four games on his rehab assignment at Class A Potomac and Class AA Harrisburg, and went 7 for 16 (.438) with one double, two home runs and nine RBI.
“I feel good, man,” he said. “Those games in the minor leagues helped me. … I ran a lot down there. I hit a double, ran home to first, that allowed me to get more confident and allowed me to get here.”
Ramos strained his hamstring last season twice and missed significant time. Despite training his legs this offseason, he still strained his hamstring again this season. He has changed his workout during his return: he isn’t lifting heavy weights as much and focusing on more repetitions and agility exercises. By lifting heavy weights less often, Ramos said his legs don’t feel as tight.
But more importantly, Ramos said he plans to push himself less on the base paths. He will not be trying to leg out any singles or doubles.
“Not anymore,” he said. “Single, I’ll take it. Easy double, I’ll take it, man. I don’t want to push it.”
That approach has the blessing of Manager Matt Williams.
“Sure doubles are okay, but we certainly don’t want to push it,” he said. “If he has any thought about whether he can make it or not, just make sure that you’re conservative in that regard. But in the heat of the moment, you don’t think about those things. You think about getting to the next base. We’ll try to make sure that we bubble-wrap him as much as possible, especially early on, and get him through some games here.”
While Ramos has full clearance for play and without any restrictions, Williams is easing him back into the lineup Thursday by batting him seventh. Ramos’s return helps both the offense and with pitch-calling behind the plate. Nationals pitchers have a collective 2.87 ERA throwing to Ramos, compared to 3.05 with Jose Lobaton.
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Anthony Rendon, 3B
3. Jayson Werth, RF
4. Adam LaRoche, 1B
5. Ryan Zimmerman, LF
6. Ian Desmond, SS
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Danny Espinosa, 2B
9. Doug Fister, SP
1. Ryan Sweeney, LF
2. Justin Ruggiano, RF
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Starlin Castro, SS
5. Luis Valbuena, 3B
6. Welington Castillo, C
7. Junior Lake, CF
8. Darwin Barney, 2B
9. Travis Wood, SP