(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Wilson Ramos walked out to left field in Turner Field on Friday afternoon, over four hours before first pitch. With a trainer watching, he ran to center field and back without any issue. Three days prior, he raced down the first base line trying to beat out a grounder and then walked slowly back to he dugout, at first worried about the discomfort in his left hamstring, the same muscle that forced him miss 58 games this season.

Asked how he felt after he ran on Friday, Ramos joked: “Like Miguel Cabrera.” The discomfort in his leg is completely gone, he said. “I feel a lot better,” he added.

Ramos returned to the lineup on Friday against the Atlanta Braves, a meaningful series because of the opponent but not necessarily because of the dent it could make in the division standings. The Nationals believe the discomfort Ramos felt was related to scar-like tissue in his muscle.

Ramos’s return is important for any hope the Nationals might have for a late-season push. He is hitting .309 with five homers and 22 RBI since July 4, when he returned from a second stint on the disabled list with a hamstring strain. He has also handled the Nationals’ pitching staff well. When he is catching, Nationals pitchers have posted a 3.13 ERA compared the 3.96 ERA when Kurt Suzuki is behind the plate.

Before he sat two games, Ramos had started 26 of the Nationals’ previous 34 contests. Manager Davey Johnson said Ramos was ready to go full bore on Friday and would evaluate how he feels after he plays.

“I’ll just go by how he’s moving and how he’s feeling,.” Johnson said. “Take it day by day.”