The Nationals and Wilson Ramos believe they dodged a bullet on Wednesday, the day after Ramos was pulled after four innings after reinjuring his left hamstring when trying to beat out a groundball at first base. After an initial evaluation on Tuesday night revealed the injury was minor, Ramos reported to Nationals Park on Wednesday in good spirits and said his left hamstring felt better.
“It’s not as serious as we thought,” Manager Davey Johnson said.
Ramos said the discomfort he felt running to first base on a comebacker in the fourth inning on Tuesday was lower in his hamstring and a lighter level of pain than the previous two strains. He said he didn’t receive an MRI following Tuesday’s game but was evaluated by team doctor Wiemi Douoguih. Ramos estimated he would miss maybe a day or two.
“A little bit happy because it’s not too hurt,” Ramos said before Wednesday’s game. “I felt a little bit yesterday sore in my hamstring but it’s not in the big part of the hamstring. It’s down in the hamstring, a little bit behind the knee. It’s not my hamstring, so I’m really excited right now. I don’t feel hurt like I have to go on the DL, so that’s good for me.”
Johnson said the Nationals would evaluate Ramos’s condition after he participates in full workouts, including batting practice and running, on Wednesday. Ramos could return to play after he is cleared following the workout. Johnson said the team’s medical staff felt that the discomfort in Ramos’s leg was related to the adhesions, or scar-like tissue.
Any discomfort and issues with Ramos’s left hamstring are concerning. Two previous strains have already kept him out of 58 games this season and sent him to the disabled list twice. Since his return on July 4 from his second stint on the DL, Ramos has been an important piece behind the plate and one of the Nationals'[ most consistent producers, hitting .309 (30 for 97) with five homers and 22 RBI in 27 games.
Ramos has played nearly every day since his return, starting 26 of the Nationals’ past 34 games. He has been more productive than recently little-used Kurt Suzuki and said he has benefited and not worn down from playing every day.
“I feel comfortable when I play every day,” Ramos said. “I feel strong, more consistent behind the plate or hitting. I saw the difference in this month. I threw a couple runners out. My arm feels good. I feel good behind the plate, calling games. I’m hitting well. I can see the difference when I play every day than every other day. That’s good for me. And hopefully I’ll be ready in two or three more days and then go keep playing like that.”
Johnson doesn’t think the everyday workload has taken a toll on Ramos, who was eased back into action early this season as he returned from last year’s major knee surgery.
“He’s strong as a horse,” Johnson said. “Even he came to me, real mad when I didn’t play him a day game after a night game. I’ve just being cautious. He said, ‘I don’t want to miss anything. I don’t want to miss nothing. I’ve missed enough already.’”
Ramos said he isn’t concerned by this current injury and that he wants “to finish the season healthy and strong.”
Ramos did vow to make one change when he returned. He has paced himself when running on the bases, going full bore when needed, such as when he tries to beat out infield hits. “Next time for me, easy out,” he said. “I’m not going to try to do too much, not anymore.”
Johnson believes that will be difficult to do.
“That’s easy to say but as soon as you hit, where you think you’ve got an infield hit then he’s going to go hard,” he said. “That’s just human nature. And the last time (he strained his hamstring), the week before that, he hit a double and he could have walked to second. That was in L.A. I think it is that first move you’ve got to be careful with because you’re twisting and jumping back.”