The Washington Times - August 14, 2013, 06:43PM

A day later, Wilson Ramos was all smiles, relieved and excited that his left hamstring felt much improved from Tuesday night and feeling confident that he would avoid going on the disabled list for the third time this season with the same issue.

Ramos, who felt his hamstring tighten while running to first base on Tuesday night, feared that he had strained his left hamstring for the third time this season. He was nervous, and scared. He told bench coach Randy Knorr and Nationals head trainer Lee Kuntz that he was worried about it, and he wondered if he’d continue on in the game. 

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Then, the rain came.

“When I felt it, I said, ‘OK, get it stretched a little bit and go back behind the plate,’” he said Wednesday. “But thank God it was raining. In that moment, I say to God: ‘Oh my God, just give me something.’ And the rain starts.”

The Nationals and San Francisco Giants went into a 77-minute rain delay and Kurt Suzuki took over for Ramos when the game resumed. Manager Davey Johnson worried Tuesday night that he might lose his catcher again for an extended period to a hamstring injury.

But Ramos said the issue is further down his leg this time, closer to the knee, and he is not concerned that it will affect him for very long. While he expected he’d be out of the starting lineup for two or three days, he was available if necessary. Suzuki started in his place on Wednesday night.

“It’s not as serious as we thought,” Johnson said. “It’s down lower from where he normally pulled it. I’ll let him go through a regular workout and see how he looks and see how he feels. Let him hit, run around the bases and go from there.”

The latest scare, however, did get a message through to Ramos. While he has made himself leaner and more agile this season, Ramos spoke to his father after Tuesday’s game and he reminded his son that doesn’t mean he’s suddenly going to be an exceptionally speedy runner. Instead of putting himself at risk for an injury by trying to beat out infield hits, Ramos said he’ll try to be a little more cautious.

“(My dad) was watching the game he said the same thing, ‘(You’ve done this) two times,’” Ramos said. “‘You don’t need to do that. You’re not fast, you’re not a stolen base runner so do your job behind the plate, do your job with the bat, throw runners out, that’s it.’

“But that’s part of the game. You hit a ground ball to second, shortstop, third, you run. You forget everything and want to get a base hit.”

Johnson agreed that is easier said than done.

“As soon as he hits one where he thinks he’s got an infield hit, he’s going to go hard,” Johnson said. “That’s just human nature.” 

Ramos has worked hard since returning from the disabled list on July 4 to keep his legs strong and try to safeguard against further injury. He said he will continue to do so.

“Maybe I’m working more on (the main) part of the hamstring and I forget about the other side of my body,” he said. “But I have to keep doing my stuff. I’ve got another exercise right now. So I will work harder and see what happens. I want to finish the season healthy and strong.”

Ramos shook his head vehemently when asked about the disabled list. He has no intentions of going back there.

“Maybe two or three days (out of the lineup) and I will still be able,” he said. “I don’t have any problem. I can squat. It’s just running, but not too hard.”