With each passing inning of an exhausting marathon game on Saturday night, Wilson Ramos jogged out from the dugout and took his place behind the plate. Earlier in the week, Ramos missed two games with a minor tweak of his hamstring. The same muscle has sent him to the disabled list twice this season already and forced him to miss 58 games. Since his return on July 4, he has played nearly every day.
But Ramos wanted to keep playing and his continued hot-hitting gave the Nationals a better chance to win. Bench coach Randy Knorr, acting manager after Davey Johnson was tossed in the second inning along with starter Stephen Strasburg, was growing concerned. Ramos had already warned earlier in the week that he would not be running hard on groundballs to save his legs, and that was the case on Saturday.
“I was ready for 15 or 20,” Ramos said.
Back at his locker on Sunday morning, Ramos was admittedly tired but offered himself up if the Nationals needed a catcher. “If they need me today, I will be ready,” he said. They didn’t need one as Kurt Suzuki was starting behind the plate. Asked if he needed more than one day of rest — Ramos did play nearly two games in one day — he shook in disagreement.
The concern was how the recently-much-injured Ramos felt catching all those innings, especially the following morning. He has been one of the Nationals’ best hitters, albeit in limited action, hitting .295 with a .800 OPS in 43 games, including a 3 for 7 performance on Saturday.
“I feel my hamstring a little bit better,” he said. “I don’t run hard in any situation. Behind the plate, I feels good. I don’t feel anything in my hamstring. I feel my hamstring pretty good when I was behind the plate. I just feel when I’m running hard yesterday. I don’t get any opportunity to run hard. That’s why I stay those 15 innings behind the plate.”