Wilson Ramos due back in Nationals’ starting lineup Thursday

Catcher Wilson Ramos is expected to start Thursday against the Brewers, barring any setback tonight in his final rehab assignment with Class A Potomac. (John McDonnell / The Washington Post) (John McDonnell / The Washington Post)

Catcher Wilson Ramos is scheduled to return to the Nationals’ starting lineup Thursday against Milwaukee, barring any setback during the final game of his rehab assignment Wednesday night with Class A Potomac in Woodbridge.

Ramos, who has not played for Washington since May 15 after injuring his left hamstring, will just serve as a designated hitter for Potomac Wednesday after catching a full nine-inning game Tuesday. On Wednesday, Nationals Manager Davey Johnson expressed confidence in re-inserting Ramos into the lineup following the layoff.

“I think he’s been out about 50 days, he’s been doing a whole lot of catching, running, whatever,” Johnson said. “So I plan on catching him [Thursday]. I might even catch him the next game, too, because the next game’s a night game. We’ll see. He needs to make it through” Wednesday night.

After sitting out April 14 to 29 with a strained left hamstring, Ramos re-aggravated the injury May 15. Kurt Suzuki has started 35 games at catcher since, batting .206/.250/.270. Should Ramos return as scheduled Thursday, backup catcher Jhonatan Solano would likely be sent down to Class AAA Syracuse. Solano has played in 38 games this season, but only nine of them starts at catcher.

Ramos caught seven innings for Potomac on Monday, followed by a full nine innings against Winston Salem on Tuesday. He is 0-for-7 in those two appearances, but ran the bases well Tuesday and was mobile behind the plate. Johnson said that Ramos would get four at-bats or “whatever he feels comfortable with” in his final rehab assignment Wednesday night.

“And if the reports I get are good, it’ll be good to get him back,” Johnson said.

Roman Stubbs covers the University of Maryland athletics for The Washington Post.

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James Wagner · July 3, 2013

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