After a season in which he played only 78 games because of two hamstring strains, Wilson Ramos hoped to return home to Venezuela this winter to rest. He spent too much of the season worried about his legs, running scared that he may hurt his leg muscle again. At home, he wanted to rest his body, work with a personal trainer, spend time with his family. He’d also planned to skip playing winter ball in Venezuela, even though he wanted to play.
But over the past week, Ramos has been playing for the Tigres de Aragua in the Venezuelan winter league. He has played in six games and is hitting .273 (6 for 22) with two RBI, five walks and three strikeouts. According to his agent, Gustavo Marcano, Ramos has been serving as the Tigres’ designated hitter and hasn’t been catching. Marcano said that Ramos changed his mind once he was in Venezuela and felt well rested.
“It was a personal decision,” Marcano said in Spanish from Venezuela. “He came here and thought that he had rested enough. He wanted to be in uniform. He’s only the designated hitter and just batting. He wanted to keep hitting.”
Winter baseball is popular in Latin America, and when players return home from playing in the U.S. they often want to play in front of their home crowds. Ramos didn’t play his first game for the Tigres until Nov. 20, so he rested all of October and most of November. Marcano said Ramos plans to play for the rest of the season, which lasts only another month. He said they informed the Nationals of Ramos’s decision to play.
Marcano said he has seen Ramos play recently and he has careful about his running. After Ramos returned in July, he was an offensive force in the Nationals lineup. He caught 23 straight games from late August to mid-September and hit eight home runs over the final 33 games.
“He looks good,” Marcano said. “He’s playing the same way he finished the season. And that’s why he wanted to play, because he felt stronger.”