The Washington Times - July 18, 2012, 07:23PM

The Washington Nationals’ catching corp appears ready to take another injury hit. Jhonatan Solano is expected to be placed on the disabled list as soon as Thursday and the team is likely to recall Sandy Leon from Double-A Harrisburg. 

According to Nationals manager Davey Johnson, Solano first felt the injury crop up on a swing when the team was in Miami over the weekend. He did get an important hit in the Nationals’ rally Tuesday night, but Wednesday Johnson said the team will likely be forced to make a roster move.


Leon’s major league career lasted just one at-bat before he was plowed over at home place by Chase Headley and removed with a high right ankle sprain. By the time Leon was healthy, Solano had supplanted him as the Nationals’ backup behind Jesus Flores (their original backup behind Wilson Ramos). 

But in the minors this season Leon, who is lauded for his exceptional receiving abilities, has hit .311. And in the last 10 games he’s hitting .343 with a .676 OPS.

One Nationals official, asked this week about the organization’s possible desire to deal for a catcher before the trade deadline, brushed that off as speculation because of how comfortable the team is with Flores and how highly they think of not just Solano, but Leon.

Which brings us to Flores, who is in a terrible funk at the plate, now 3-for-29 in July.

After Flores outwardly displayed his frustration on several occasions Tuesday night, Johnson pulled him aside and asked him to do him a favor: relax. Johnson said there was “No doubt in my mind,” that Flores’ struggles lately are coming from him pressing and trying to do far too much.

“He expects a lot of himself,” Johnson said. “He’s going through a little slump here and he’s putting more pressure on himself. He calls a great game, he’s outstanding behind the dish, catching the best staff in baseball and helping them along. I said ‘You’re more important than what you do offensively. Just quit grinding and punishing yourself as much as you do. Just relax and try to enjoy it a little bit more.’ He’s certainly got the ability to hit. I’m not worried about it. I’m not as worried as he is. Hopefully he’ll lighten up.”

– In other catcher news, Wilson Ramos’ underwent successful surgery to repair his torn right anterior cruciate ligament on Wednesday and while nothing has changed with regard to this season, the Nationals and Johnson were encouraged by his response to the surgery to repair his meniscus and have been assured he’ll make a full recovery.

“He’s recovered form the first one real well,” Johnson said of the June 1 surgery to repair the torn meniscus doctors discovered when they went to operate on his ACL. “He was in a  great frame of mind when I talked to him a couple days ago. From all indications the doctors said it should be a full recovery. It won’t be this year. He’ll have to rehab the rest of the season and probably play winter ball and be back to full strength next year.”