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Ramos relishes chance to catch every single day

Sep 4, 2013, 11:26 AM EST

Associated Press Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The Nationals know Wilson Ramos has the skills to be an everyday catcher in the big leagues. They just don’t know if he has the body to do it.

So they’re using this final month of the season to find out once and for all.

Ramos on Tuesday started his 12th consecutive game behind the plate for the Nationals, a fairly stunning stretch given his injury history but one both the club and Ramos believe is significant for his development.

“It’s very important for me,” he said. “I lost too many games early in the season, last year. Right now, I feel good. I want to show the team, the manager, I can play every day, because I feel more consistent when I play every day.”

His 2012 season abruptly cut short by a torn ACL and his 2013 season twice interrupted by hamstring strains, Ramos is at long last healthy enough to attempt a prolonged string of starts like this.

And, he insists, health is not an issue whatsoever right now.

“It feels great,” he said after Tuesday night’s 9-6 win. “My knee is good, my hamstring is good. I’m happy because we’ve been winning. I’m ready to catch more. I’m healthy and I’m happy to be behind the plate.”

The heavy workload has coincided with a mini-slump at the plate. Ramos’ batting average sat at .299 the last time he got a day off (August 21). Over his next 11 games, he hit just .171 (7-for-41) and saw his season average drop 26 points.

But if Ramos truly was banged up, would he have been able to crush a three-run, opposite-field homer to one of the deepest points of Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday? That blast gave him eight homers and 32 RBI in 43 games since returning from the disabled list on July 4.

Ramos also drew a pair of walks during the Nationals’ victory, then was pulled for a pinch-runner in the seventh inning.

Upon subbing him out, manager Davey Johnson told Ramos: “You’ve caught 12 games in a row, so take a rest. Go into the training room, get treatment and you’ll be ready for tomorrow.”

Tomorrow? Doesn’t Ramos need (or, at least, deserve) a day off at this point?

“Nah,” he said with a smile. “I’m ready to go.”

  1. 3on2out - Sep 4, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    I must admit I am a little surprised. A day game after a night game was pretty much an automatic break for a catcher. I always thought that catcher appreciated the respite…particularly in the dog days of August. Go get get ‘em, Tonka!

    • adcwonk - Sep 4, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      As I wrote in last thread:

      a) he’s only 26
      b) the alternative is Solano, who’s hitting .184
      c) there _was_ a day off during the 12 games, further, he gets Thursday off

      I’m not saying that: therefore he should start again today. But I am saying that it’s quite plausible that playing today is better for the team than his not playing today.

      • adcwonk - Sep 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        Oh — and:

        d) he’s still played in less than 60 games this season; and
        e) during the mini-slump, his SLG is .349 (not great, but not worthless (Solano is .184/.237)

  2. Hiram Hover - Sep 4, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Even the best catchers generally start no more than 125-130 games in a full season–meaning they get every 4th-5th game off.

    I don’t see any point in treating Ramos differently right now–frankly, seems kinda foolish.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 4, 2013 at 11:44 AM

      Hiram, well said. A fresh Wilson Ramos takes advantage of his strong bat.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 4, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      But we have been saying this… He shouldn’t play every day… Look at how well he was doing when he was mixing with Zook… Look at how good Zook was…

      It is okay to give him a break, regardless of who his back up is…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 4, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        It’s like pitching Clippard every day. Sometimes you have to rest these guys.

  3. Hiram Hover - Sep 4, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    About Mark’s tweet

    By the way, we might be marveling at Ramos’ 12 consecutive starts. Yadier Molina isn’t impressed: Caught 34(!) straight earlier this year.

    Actually, Molina started 22 straight games, and in the 23rd (5/15 @ NYM) came in as PH in the 8th inning and caught the 9th.

    That’s impressive enough–esp when you consider that he did what Ramos has not done, and maintained his productivity at the plate over that stretch.

    Still – it’s one thing to marvel at the player’s performance, another to think his manager made a great decision in giving him no rest.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 4, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      The Cardinals have also played Yadier at 1st base a few times this year. You also have to wonder if some of Yadier’s injuries are caused by over-use.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 4, 2013 at 2:16 PM

        four games out of 114 is very few. in 3 of those four games, he caught 8 innings each. only one game he played just 1B. I think we should not compare Ramos to Molina. Right now Molina is in a league of his own.

  4. Section 222 - Sep 4, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    “Every single day.” Sounds like Harper talking.

  5. Doc - Sep 4, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Buffalo know best, but some of those wild pitches last night might have been caught by a less tired C.

    Ruiz is going to be available next year, but I guess he’s not likely interested in being some team’s backup. And not likely that Rizzo would pay his freight charges.

    GooooooooooooBuffalo!!!!! GooooooooooooooooooNats!!!!!!!!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 4, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      Who? is available from the ole Abbott & Costello. I think Who? is aka for Wil Nieves. He’s had a real good year in limited use.

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 4, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    next season I would like a LH catcher as backup. I would check with A’s if Jaso is available.

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