Sep 4, 2013, 11:26 AM EDT
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.”
NL EAST STANDINGS
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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