The Washington Times - April 1, 2013, 06:30PM

Wilson Ramos popped out of the dugout just after noon on Monday and jogged out to the outfield to begin his warm-up. As he and Stephen Strasburg made their way to the bullpen, Ramos took in the scene.

He was overwhelmed.

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“I’m excited for this moment today,” he said. “I felt like this was my first game in the big leagues. I was almost crying when I was in the bullpen today.”

Ramos is just eight months removed from the second of two surgeries on his right knee. The first was to repair his meniscus, the second his anterior cruciate ligament.

His rehab has been spotless, and his commitment to improving himself has drawn raves.

Ramos has lost roughly 18 pounds, his slimmer physique giving him added agility behind the plate and made recovery easier on his knee. He was 1-for-2 with a walk and he caught nine combined scoreless innings from Strasburg, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano.

It was almost like he never left,” Clippard said. “I felt very comfortable with him out there. I’m just happy for him to get back into the swing of things. I know he’s worked his tail off to get back to this point.”

Kurt Suzuki will start on Wednesday, when the Nationals send Gio Gonzalez to the mound to face the Miami Marlins. The two catchers will alternate from there.