One of the few races that truly bears watching this spring is the competition between Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores to backup, and most likely eventually split time with, Ivan Rodriguez. Today, Manager Jim Riggleman gave what could be interpreted as an endorsement for Ramos.

"The thing is, Ramos has just been playing so well," Riggleman said. "It's not necessarily a separation between Ramos and Flores. The guys who have swung the bat the best of anybody in camp are really [Brian] Bixler, [Michael] Morse and Ramos. They've kind of separated themselves from everybody. But it's spring training."

With 12 games down and 18 to go, Ramos has received more playing time, and has done more with it, than Flores. Ramos is regarded as the better defensive catcher of the two, a fact accentuated by Flores's continued re-acclimation behind the plate following the year he spent recovering from shoulder injuries.

But Ramos has also easily performed better at the plate. Ramos is 6 for 16 with a double and a walk. Flores is 0 for 9 for three walks. Riggleman did not go so far as to declare Ramos the leader, but that's certainly how it looks.

>>> Ryan Zimmerman is back in the lineup after missing three days with a sore abdominal muscle, and Jayson Werth is in there, too. Here's the full lineup for tonight's game against the Astros, which is being broadcast on MASN at 6:05:

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF
2. Ian Desmond, SS
3. Jayson Werth, RF
4. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
5. Rick Ankiel, LF
6. Michael Morse, 1B
7. Ivan Rodriguez, C
8. Jesus Flores, DH
9. Alberto Gonzalez, 2B
-- Livan Hernandez, SP