Wilson Ramos progressing in his hand rehab

Wilson Ramos during the season opener. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post) Wilson Ramos during the season opener. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Wilson Ramos was in the Nationals clubhouse on Friday. He ran sprints in the outfield with a strength and conditioning coach before the game. He bounced around the clubhouse talking with teammates. With the stitches out of left hand following hamate bone surgery, he smiled and looked happier.

“Of course,” he said, when asked about his demeanor. “I’ve got a bat in my hands.”

Ramos had the sutures removed on Monday and began his rehab. The catcher is doing all sorts of exercises to strengthen his left hand and wrist. Dipping his hand in a bucket of rice and squeezing. Hot and cold tubs. Patting the injured part of his hand. Squeezing a ball repeatedly. Hard massages of the hand.

“Keeping my forearm and my wrist strong, and that will help me with my hand,” Ramos said.

He has also been gripping a bat to get the feel back. He took five “nice and easy” swings in the batting cage on Friday, swinging for the first time since the season opener on March 31 in which he left with a broken hamate bone.

Ramos said his hand no longer hurt but did admit it felt weird because it had little power. With a weaker left hand, the one pressed against the bat’s handle, it hasn’t been as easy to control the bat. His right and uninjured hand is the one that supplies the force when swinging. Hamate bone surgery is known to sap the power from hitters when they return.

“I feel happy that it was not my right hand because I do everything with my right hand, throwing, power in my swing,” Ramos said. “That was a little bit hard. Right now, trying to control the bat is hard. Day by day it will be better.”

Ramos is unsure when he will be able to fully take part in batting practice. He underwent the surgery to remove a broken hamate bone on April 2. The recovery is anywhere from four to eights weeks, but the Nationals hoped Ramos could return in perhaps four to six weeks. Ramos is taking his rehab day by day at this point, but he is itching to return.

“A lot,” he said. “After last year, on the DL, in 2012, too. Right now, I’m trying to do everything right but I want to be on the field. During spring training, I was feeling great, healthy. After that, it was down a little bit. I keep my head up and keep working hard and try to get back soon.”

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.

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Adam Kilgore · April 18, 2014

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