Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos runs for cover in the dugout as a hard rain starts cutting short the team’s first spring training workout. (Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

After catching his second bullpen session of spring training, crouched and in full gear on Friday morning, catcher Wilson Ramos’s surgically-repaired right knee felt better. Ramos caught his first bullpen the day before and the knee later felt tired and sore. But on Friday, he had no such problem, according to Manager Davey Johnson.

“That was the best news of the day,” he said.

Based Johnson’s observations of Ramos’s progress, the catcher is ahead of schedule in his recovery from surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee. Ramos’s doctors have been cautious with him, clearing him for all activities but requiring him to take it slow. Johnson, however, said he thinks Ramos is ahead of his six-week calendar to return to unrestricted activities and play in a game.

“If there’s nothing wrong except recovery, build up and strength, I basically let the player dictate to me by what I see he can do and can’t do,” he said.

In Ramos’s mind, he has felt strong and been deliberate in his rehab but still hopes to be the team’s starting catcher by opening day. Johnson said he hopes to use Ramos two weeks into the spring training game schedule, letting him play only three innings in his first appearance.

“He’s catching two days in a row,” Johnson said. “He’s hitting every day. And building that up, I’m going to go real slow with that.”

Henry Rodriguez also showed positive signs on Friday. The right-handed reliever, who underwent surgery in August to clean up a bone spur in his elbow, hasn’t yet thrown a bullpen session in camp and felt some tenderness earlier this week.

He played catch on Friday with starter Ross Ohlendorf, who, according to Johnson, laughed about having to be paired with the hard-throwing righty.

“[Rodriguez] was supposed to have a little tight bicep but he was throwing the heck out of the ball on the flats,” Johnson said. “He looks awfully good. He was throwing off the flat about 90 miles an hour.”

According to Johnson, there was “a little bit” of tightness in Rodriguez’s forearm that was minimal on Friday. The bicep tightness was because he hadn’t thrown during winter ball, Johnson said.

“The way he was throwing today, that didn’t look like a tired arm to me,” he said. “He might be available soon after the grapefruit league starts.”