VIERA, Fla. — Wilson Ramos has spent most of his time in camp this spring working on preparing himself and his surgically-repaired knee for the rigors of a full season. But a few days ago, his mind finally clear of any worries about how his repaired ACL and meniscus would react when he returned to playing, Ramos turned his attention back to his offense.
Three days ago, Ramos worked with hitting coach Rick Eckstein on his swing, in earnest, for the first time this spring.
Wednesday afternoon, Ramos hit his first home run since tearing his knee up last May. In his next at-bat, he hit his second.
“You know, after working hard with my knee, I’m concentrating a little more on my offense and my swing now,” Ramos said. “I forget about my knee now. For a long time, I worked with my knee only and forgot a little about my offense. Now it’s time to work it all together.”
After Ramos caught a full game for the first time this spring, he told manager Davey Johnson that he had finally stopped thinking about his knee. His mind was clear.
What he was worried about, he said, was his timing at the plate.
“It feels great at the plate right now,” Ramos said.
Once it was established that Ramos was not only going to be healthy enough to serve as the Nationals’ backup catcher when the season began but actually as an equal partner with Kurt Suzuki in sharing playing time, the question over who would start for the Nationals on Opening Day has been a popular one.
Manager Davey Johnson has so far refused to answer it, knowing both his catchers would love the honor.
“Last year I caught Opening Day and it’s one of the best moments of my career,” Ramos said. “This year I’m waiting for that moment again. I would be happy in that moment. That’s the moment everybody’s waiting for.”
– The Nationals and Braves put on quite a power display inside a windy Space Coast Stadium on Wednesday and while Ramos’ two home runs may have held the most significance, it was Ryan Zimmerman’s three that really stole the show.
Zimmerman struck out in his first at-bat and homered in each of his remaining three.
I hit the ball good. I’m starting to feel better, about a week away, it’s nice to start getting going.
“I hit the ball good today,” Zimmerman said. “I’m starting to feel better. About a week away, it’s nice to start getting going.”
Zimmerman generally likes to have about 50 at-bats in the spring and that’s a number that Johnson has kept in mind when considering his third baseman’s playing time to this point. Zimmerman entered the game with 48 at-bats. In No.’s 50, 51 and 52 he hit home runs so, it would seem he’s ready for the season.
“Soon as Zim gets his 50 at-bats, he’s ready,” Johnson said, chuckling.
Tyler Moore also homered on Wednesday, his fourth of the spring after he got the start in left with Bryce Harper out for the day.