Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos hasn’t been in action since Opening Day, but the 26-year-old is nearing his return to the team.
Following a two-homer, one double performance on Friday in an extended spring game, Ramos appears like he has recovered from the broken hamate bone he suffered in Game 1 of the 2014 season. Manager Matt Williams is skeptical, however.
“We don’t want to rush him too fast,” Williams said to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. “We want to make sure his legs are in shape.”
Keeping his legs healthy will be Williams’ primary concern moving forward. The catcher has suffered multiple leg injuries in his five-year career. He missed two months in 2013 with hamstring strains and four months in 2012 due to major knee surgery. Seeing as a catcher’s legs are the most valuable part of his body, Williams will need to keep Ramos fresh and make sure his stamina is built up before catching consecutive nine-inning affairs.
Ramos believes he could return on Monday when the team takes on the Los Angeles Dodgers at home, but again, Williams sided with caution:
I don’t know how realistic that is. He’s been out for a month, roughly. Not catching, you just got to get back into the flow. You look at it in spring training, it takes them a long time to get going an maintain that. And I worry about his legs. I worry, given his history, that’s he’s fully in shape when he comes back.
In his stead, Williams has utilized Jose Lobaton and Sandy Leon at the position. Generally reserves, it has been difficult to find consistent success from the duo. Lobaton owns a .266/.329/.406 line with one homer and five RBI, while Leon is slashing just .171/.256/.286 with one homer and three RBI.
A healthy Ramos will really lengthen the lineup, especially when you consider that Bryce Harper will be shelved for the foreseeable future. Ramos was stellar last season (when healthy), mashing 16 homers and driving in 59 in just 78 games (287 at-bats). That type of power behind the dish is rare.
The hamate bone, found in your wrist, is a difficult injury to return from for hitters. Generating power is often difficult following surgery on the wrist, though Ramos’ ability to crank two out on Friday is a great sign. It’s pure conjecture on my part, but I’d expect Ramos back within the week—though Williams’ caution may push it back until the following week.