- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
HARRIS: Wilson Ramos, Kurt Suzuki catching onto dual role
For the time being, a different guy every night. Tuesday night, as the Nats opened a homestand against the Chicago White Sox, it was Wilson Ramos. Wednesday night, it will be Kurt Suzuki. Faced with a choice between two No. 1 catchers, Nats manager Davey Johnson made an unusual call: Let’s use both.
“I wish the rest of the lineup was working as well as the catchers are,” Johnson quipped before Tuesday’s game. “Maybe I should start alternating them, too.”
It’s early, very early, but the unusual arrangement does seem to be working very well. Eventually, Johnson said, he’ll start going with “the hot hand,” which may not be an easy choice, either, if both stay hot.
It really isn’t anything major, no reinvention of the wheel. They’re not going to write a book about the change that altered the way people approach baseball (maybe just a newspaper column). But it is a little thing that shows Johnson, at 70 and in what he says will be his final year as the Nationals’ manager, isn’t stuck on old ideas. He’s willing to try different things if he gets the idea it will work.
After being acquired from Oakland in August, Suzuki did a strong job on offense and an excellent job learning the Nats‘ pitching staff and calling games. Ramos reported for spring training in great shape, his knee held up.
Johnson said he couldn’t recall using co-catchers anywhere else.
“I don’t remember when I’ve had catching this good anywhere, especially this deep,” Johnson said. “They’re both doing very well.”
For the distant future, it seems obvious Ramos is the top candidate. Only 25, he was one of the top catching prospects in baseball when the Nats acquired him from the Minnesota organization at the trade deadline in 2010. He hit 15 home runs in 113 games in 2011. At 6 feet, 230 pounds, he provides a big, strong target.
He isn’t as big as Ramos, checking in at 5-11 and 205 pounds. He’s also no slouch on offense. Ramos hit two home runs Saturday in Cincinnati. Suzuki hit one and added two doubles Sunday. Ramos went into Tuesday’s game with four hits in nine at-bats. Suzuki had three in nine at-bats.
They’re interchangeable, right into the No. 8 hole in the order.
But the main thing, pitcher Stephen Strasburg said, is they make catching their priority.
“They don’t have the same body types, so you notice that, but I don’t mind either way,” Strasburg said. “They’re both very capable of going out there, getting with you on your game plan and getting on the same page with you.
“They receive the ball really well. They block, they throw guys out. They worry about catching first.”
Said Detwiler, “We got really lucky here having two good catchers I’ve been able to get comfortable with. Ramos does give you a little bigger target, but there’s not much of a difference for me. The biggest thing for them is to adapt to the pitcher and they’re doing that. They’ve done a great job learning the pitchers.”
Rafael Soriano, in his first season as the Nats closer, has been with five major league teams now and has seen a lot of catchers. There are differences, he said, in the way they control a game and receive the ball. He hasn’t noticed that here.
“This is the first time I’ve seen” two sharing the spot, he said. “It doesn’t seem to matter here. They do a good job.”
“He’s an impressive young player,” Suzuki said. “Great receiving, blocking, throwing, calling pitches. Everyone knows he can hit.”
Ramos said sharing the spot is “good for me, coming off the surgery. They want to keep me healthy, don’t want me to hurt again.”
Let’s check back in another couple of months, but the early returns are good.
“We’re both No. 1 catchers,” Suzuki said, “and this is a good way to get it going.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Washington Times sports editor Mike Harris has more than 30 years experience in the business as a reporter, columnist and manager. He’s covered a wide variety of events including two Olympics, horse racing, auto racing, professional and college sports. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow the section on Twitter @WashTimesSports.
- HARRIS: Redskins left in limbo over $7 million question
- HARRIS: Visions of Robinson Cano under Nationals' tree
- Doing the roster math is a task Caps coach Adam Oates takes seriously
- HARRIS: There's always something you can put on your thankful list
- Martin Erat asks for trade as unproductive Caps stint appears soon to end
Latest Blog Entries
- Meet Connor Carrick, the youngster who played his way onto the Caps' final roster
- Go Aggies: Nationals notes and lineups for Sept. 14
- RG3: There is no conflict with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan
- Sunday Nats-Dodgers lineups and some thoughts from reliever Craig Stammen
- Nats vs. Dodgers: Chad Tracy and his .149 average back at first base
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- KOENIG: Should Congress hike your taxes ... or, instead, slash spending?
- Christmas secularists get 6-foot beer-can Festivus pole at Florida Statehouse
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Global economy, the civilizing power of markets and public morals.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow