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Ramos nearly 100 percent

Feb 11, 2013, 8:36 PM EST

Associated Press file photo
Wilson Ramos hasn’t played since tearing his ACL on May 12.

VIERA, Fla. — Whether sauntering around the clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium, taking hacks in the batting cage or squatting behind the plate to receive pitches, Wilson Ramos shows no visible signs of the gruesome right knee injury that befell him nine months ago.

Indeed, as Nationals pitchers and catchers report for spring training, Ramos says there’s only one hurdle left to cross before he’ll know he’s 100 percent back from a torn ACL and MCL: Blocking balls in the dirt, the exact type of play that led to his injury last season.

“Yeah, that’s the last thing I will do,” he said, adding he hopes to add that drill to his repertoire in the next day or two. “But I feel confident about the knee. I feel like I will do it soon.”

Ramos admits he’s “a little bit scared” to attempt to block a pitch in the dirt. Not because he doesn’t think he can do it, but because the image of the last time he tried to perform that task — during the Nationals’ May 12 game in Cincinnati — remains fresh in his mind. Trying to chase after a ball that got away from him, his right leg gave out and he crumpled to the ground in agony.
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  1. Gonat - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    Way to go Wilson!

  2. Gonat - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    Larry Bowa picks Ian Desmond as his #1 shortstop in all of baseball ahead of Tulo, Reyes, Rollins, Jeter, Hanley, Andrus, and all the rest.

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    Personal connection there I think.

  4. baseballswami - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Zim moves on in FOF voting– versus Trout now. We have our work cut out for us.

  5. Tcostant - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    I hope Ramos can do it. I also hope that he works on catching those throws from the OF, not sure why he doesn't excel at that…

  6. Gonat - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Tcostant said… I hope Ramos can do it. I also hope that he works on catching those throws from the OF, not sure why he doesn't excel at that… February 11, 2013 4:25 PM ________________________________Ramos is young. I think we have been spoiled with Pudge for a couple of seasons.

  7. JD - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    Gonat, And now we are spoiled because of the way Suzuki played last year.

  8. Gonat - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    JD, I thought so until the season wore on. Remember Zuk was criticised on air in Game 5 by former catcher Bob Brenly of how he moved his glove down to pitches and how he wasn't framing pitches. Not sure if it was fatigue or another factor.

  9. JD - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    Gonat, I think we need to stop looking at the entire season through the game 5 microscope. Suzuki played great defense, had a great understanding of the game,knew when to slow the pitchers down or speed them up and did a great job receiving. Sometimes a pitcher looks bad 'framing' when he is fooled by the pitcher. What Brenly said isn't gospel.

  10. Section 222 - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Section 222 - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    I agree with you JD. Brenly's comments seemed unfair. Anyway, Suzuki wouldn't have to frame if Drew wasn't nibbling. On your original point Gonat, Pudge was great at holding on to throws to the plate, but he couldn't hit. I don't think we were spoiled by him at all. He was a DP machine by the time he came here.

  12. Gonat - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    JD, that's the other side to it as it could have been Storen was missing badly with his spots but as a catcher you are taught to react to the pitch and if you have to slightly below the pitch where you anticipate you will catch it and gently move up to it in framing it on the low pitch and the opposite on the high pitch. I hope I explained that clearly (probably not). Zuk was above those pitches and jerked down to it. I have watched it many times and I think Brenly is right.

  13. Gonat - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Sect222, we are strictly defense I think but yes, Pudge will be remembered offensively here as a the Doubleplay machine.

  14. Theophilus T. S. - Feb 11, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    Saying Ramos is "slimmer than he appeared last spring" doesn't say very much. Saying they want him to improve his conditioning means, to me, he's still too fat.

  15. Theophilus T. S. - Feb 12, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    mlb.com lists Ramos @ 250#, which I don't think he's been since he was 14. He was at least 275 last season. If he still is carrying that avoirdupois around — or anything close to it — he'll either blow out the other knee or have a heart attack, not to mention let a dozen+ baseballs go through the wicket.

  16. Unknown - Feb 12, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    I'd be very happy if both Suzuki and Ramos played 81 games. Their career 81-game averages:Ramos: .270-10-34Suzuki:.255-7-36Add it up and you get a catcher (a very well rested one)who hits .263-17-70 with excellent defense.My guess is that–assuming that Ramos is 100%–the Nationals trade Suzuki near the trade deadline for a couple of prospects.Farid @ Idaho

  17. MicheleS - Feb 12, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    Theo.. and this is why Rizzo has Zuki. ease Ramos back in. And the wicket balls were from HROD. No one can catch bad Henry

  18. SCNatsFan - Feb 12, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    Theo if you retread the article it says the nats asked him to better conditioned and he arrived in better shape. Reading it as he is still too fat is a stretch. I agree he needs to be in better condition but let's see what he looks like before we say he is around 275.

  19. Ghost Of Steve M. - Feb 12, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    MicheleS at 7:25, agree with you 100%.NatsJack will tell us how Ramos looks when he sees him.

  20. SCNatsFan - Feb 12, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    Let's hope he is in shape. He had an excuse last year.

  21. Gonat - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:01 AM

    From Amanda Comak: "While Ramos hasn't focused on losing weight during his rehab, the burly catcher said he has focused on getting leaner and strengthening his core — and he's had success."

  22. SonnyG10 - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    I am going to be worried about Wilson's knee all year. I sure hope he remains injury free.BTW, does anyone know if there is a major league mandated limit to the number of players that can be invited to spring training, or can teams invite as many players as they want?

  23. Manassas Nats' Fan - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    with Suzuki on board Ramos can work himself into perfect shape. Would love to see both play close to 50% of the time to keep each fresh.

  24. MicheleS - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    BOURN TO INDIANS per Heyman

  25. SonnyG10 - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    MicheleS, anything on the contract terms? amount? years?

  26. Gonat - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:28 AM

    Bourn to Indians is a big relief. Didn't want to see him in the NL East. I feared the Phillies were figuring a way to get him.

  27. Gonat - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    Did anyone see Buster Olney's piece with Strasburg?Music to my ears how he looks forward to learning from Haren.

  28. MicheleS - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:30 AM

    He went CHEAP to indians vs what he thought he was going to get!Jon Heyman‏@JonHeymanCBSBourn gets $48M for 4 yrs plus vesting option that could make it $60M for 5. #tribe

  29. MicheleS - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    Gonat.. actually PAID for ESPN insider so I could see all of Olney's stuff. YUP.. Stras will learn from Yoda Haren (wish it was Verlander, but we can't have everything)

  30. Gonat - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    Boras #Fail That's mind blowing 4 for $48. That's $52 million less over the contract and about $8 mill less per year.

  31. Gonat - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    I wonder if Lohse signs tonight.

  32. Gonat - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    MicheleS, if you like their magazine then you can do what I did which was buy a subscription to ESPN the Magazine when they run a special and them ESPN Insider is free.

  33. MicheleS - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    Gonat.Got the Mag as well for free. this baseball thing is addictive

  34. SonnyG10 - Feb 12, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    I tried to watch the Strasburg interview but the volume was so low on my computer that I could not hear it.

  35. baseballswami - Feb 12, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    Do you all really think Suzuki is a great catcher? I see him as pretty average defensively and below average offensively. I particularly did not think he worked well with JZim. We'll see what happens with a full spring training. Don't hate the guy, I just think he is ok at best. Another Nats classic tonight. Stairs, Nix, Alex Cora- wow.

  36. JaneB - Feb 12, 2013 at 2:26 AM

    MichelleS, I am THIS CLOSE to paying myself. Tell me if its worth it.I love the countdown clock being to this place. Tomorrow, the next one starts!I am hopeful for and about Wilson. Can't wait to hear NatsJack report on what he sees.HAVE FUN MARK! I'm really psyched for yoU!

  37. MicheleS - Feb 12, 2013 at 2:35 AM

    Swami.. for catchers.. it's all about building relationships with the Pitchers. Zuki didn't have the time to do it last season. He will do it this season. (amanda or WaPo had the article on him)SI.com had an article about a year ago regarding Chooch and the Phillies pitchers. It shows how the catcher MUST be all things to the pitcher. Excellent read even if it is about the Phillies.JaneB.. I will keep you posted on insider value.

  38. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Feb 12, 2013 at 2:43 AM

    Does anyone know if there is a major league mandated limit to the number of players that can be invited to spring training, or can teams invite as many players as they want? There is a practical limit just because the coaches, and the facilities, can only handle so much, there are only so many lockers, etc. The 40-man roster still can't have more than 40, but they can invite players on minor-league contracts, and I believe non-roster invitees are a different category still, tho they would still be on some sort of contract, if only for insurance purposes.But that's a good question: is the number of minor league contracts limited by the combined roster space of all their minor league teams, or is it technically wide open?

  39. baseballswami - Feb 12, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    Seems like it's not long before they shoo a lot of players over to the minor league camp so that the key players can get the time they need. I would imagine it could get pretty crowded at first.

  40. sjm308 - Feb 12, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    Swami: as I see Suzuki, he is not great but he is certainly good enough to take this staff to the World Series. Remember, that if we did not implode in the 9th inning, his rbi single in the 8th would have been considered huge. He came in without any knowledge of our staff and did a very very good job (in my opinion). There are more team that would like to have him then not. I do think if Ramos is 100% it will be tough to keep him out of the lineup but I am hoping they will both play about 50% of the games this year.JaneB – espn.com is OK. I go there after reading most of the links Mark posts on the left. My spousal equivalent got me the magazine and because of that I get the insider stuff. Jason Stark does some decent work and Olney is thorough. I also can laugh at Bowden's work and they certainly have lots of different stats and articles. I would say go for it.

  41. sjm308 - Feb 12, 2013 at 3:07 AM

    Swami just got me to thinking. There are 30 teams in the major leagues. How many of our players would be coveted by more then 20 of those teams?I guess age would go into that if a team was trying to develop young talent but if there were no age or salary criteria I wonder how many there would be.I would think that as late as 2010 we had fewer then a dozen of our 25 man roster. I am betting it would be over 20 right now. In fact the only clear choice to not be in demand to me would be Tracy. We really have a strong roster!!

  42. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Feb 12, 2013 at 4:56 AM

    Tracy was the best pinch hitter in the league, IIRC, last year. Everybody needs that.

  43. Unknown - Feb 12, 2013 at 5:34 AM

    Best pinch hitter I ever saw: Gates Brown, Detroit, 1968.In 92 at-bats, .370/.442/.685, 6 HR & 15 RBIFarid @ Idaho

  44. David - Feb 12, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    So is Corey Brown going to major league camp?

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