- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2014

NEW YORK — Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos will see a hand specialist in Washington on Tuesday after a foul ball smashed off his left hand in the sixth inning of Monday’s 9-7 Opening Day victory over the New York Mets.

X-rays on site at Citi Field were inconclusive, according to manager Matt Williams, and there was no immediate diagnosis of a broken bone.

Ramos has had his share of heartache in recent seasons. An ACL tear in his right knee ruined his 2012 season in mid-May and hamstring issues limited him to 78 games last season.

But Ramos entered this season off a strong spring training, where he had a .385 batting average, .390 on-base percentage, .538 slugging percentage and .929 OPS.

It was that performance that had Williams throwing a curveball even before managing his first major-league game and batting Ramos fourth against the Mets. That had occurred just seven times in Ramos‘ career, though he did so several times this spring, a hint into Williams‘ thinking.

Wilson is one of our best middle-of-the-lineup guys,” Williams said before the game. “And in fact we moved [Ryan Zimmerman] up a little bit in the middle of the lineup, puts him in a good spot there. Hopefully today’s he’s got a lot of opportunities in that regard.”

Now, that opportunity for Ramos is in question again. Williams said the Nats were in talks about which minor league catcher they might summon, likely Sandy Leon from Double-A Harrisburg or Jhonatan Solano from Triple-A Syracuse, but nothing would be determined until Ramos‘ status is known for sure. Williams said that Ramos‘ hand did not look swollen.

“But you have a lot of little bones in there so we have to make sure,” Williams said.

Ramos finished his first day in the cleanup spot 0 for 3, getting called out on strikes in the seventh inning before departing in the bottom of that frame. Reserve catcher Jose Lobaton, acquired in a spring training trade with Tampa Bay, came in for his Washington debut. He would later single during a four-run 10th inning.

“I guess surprised, but I’m ready,” Ramos said before the game after seeing his name on the lineup card in the No. 4 hole. “I’m ready. Feels great right now. Feels good to play. I believe in what I can do and I can do a good job in that spot.”

Barrett opens big-league career with ‘W’

Aaron Barrett was a long shot to even make the Nats’ Opening Day roster.

But on Monday the right-handed relief pitcher was not only in uniform, he made his major-league debut and earned his first major-league win.

Barrett held the Mets at bay in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the 10th, his teammates rewarded him with a four-run outburst. His parents, Dave and Jackie, wife, Kendyl, brother, Ryan, sister-in-law, Ashley, mother-in-law, Kathi, and his toddler niece were all in attendance.

“Pretty surreal, just like making the team out of camp,” Barrett said. “Talking to the veteran guys on the team they told me to just enjoy every single moment that I can. Today was one of those moments that I’ve dreamed about over and over.”

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