The Washington Times - March 13, 2013, 05:33PM

VIERA, Fla. — Wilson Ramos caught five innings for the Nationals on Wednesday afternoon, the second time he’s caught that deep into a game. And when they take the field against the Houston Astros on Thursday, Ramos will be behind the plate again.

For the first time since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee, Ramos will catch back-to-back games, another step in his road back to being the Nationals’ everyday catcher.

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“I like that idea,” Ramos said, telling manager Davey Johnson during batting practice that he was “ready to go” when Johnson asked if he’d be up for the back-to-back plan. “Go back-to-back and see how I feel, day-by-day. But after I catch one day, I feel perfect the next day so, hopefully, tomorrow that will be another step for me.

“After that, I want to do the next step, and the next step for me is to catch nine innings. That’s what I want to do.”

Ramos’ recovery has gone exceedingly well, particularly since he’s arrived here at spring training. The Nationals hoped all along that he would be ready to start the season as Kurt Suzuki’s backup and they planned to gradually increase his playing time.

That is still the plan, but whether Ramos or Suzuki will start on Opening Day may be more of a question now than it was at the start of camp.

It’s too early to decide that kind of thing, Johnson said when asked if he’d considered who he might start, and he knows both would want the assignment.

Ramos would love it to be him.

“I want to be in the first game, but that’s a decision I can’t make,” Ramos said. “The manager and (general manager Mike Rizzo) they have to make that decision. I just want to go out there and do my best job and they have to make the decision.

“I want to be able to play on Opening Day, and a lot of games in the season.”