But Desmond pointed out to Ramos that he had never hurt his legs when he was 250 pounds instead of 220. So during his stretch of 23 straight games, Ramos ate everything he wanted — pasta and more importantly arepas, a corn patty filled with cheese or meat from his native Venezuela. He felt stronger, and his play on the field didn’t let up.
“Every day I eat arepa, I can play every day,” he said with a smile.
With steady playing time, Ramos has always felt more comfortable anyway. Ramos’s batting average in the previous 22 games may have been only .226, but he has provided plenty of power. He has driven in 24 runs during this 23-game stretch, including seven home runs. His four hits Sunday matched a career high. In only 68 games this season, Ramos has driven in 55 runs, fifth most on the Nationals.
“That was a hard thing for me when I pulled my hamstring twice, but I never put my head down,” he said. “I stayed working all the time, and for me, I know I can help this team to win a lot of games.”
Ramos refuses to think about what the season could have held for him had he remained healthy. But his manager couldn’t help but wonder how differently the Nationals’ season might have been if their power-hitting catcher was behind the plate for an entire season.
“That’s 100 RBIs and 28 bombs,” Johnson said. “Huge difference. He’s been missed. Suzuki did a great job, but he couldn’t, wasn’t the kind of player Ramos [is]. Ramos is a really strong number one. One of the best catchers in the league.”
The lingering question with Ramos now is when he will get a day off. Johnson has allowed Ramos to play because his bat is difficult to replace. Before Sunday’s game, Ramos said he wanted to rest him Monday after the catching mark was reached. But with a three-game series against the Braves next, he wouldn’t commit after the game to resting him. Johnson said he would talk with Ramos.
“I hate to take that weapon out of the lineup. Maybe after Atlanta leaves,” Johnson said.