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Wilson Ramos Works Hard To Return To Nationals

April 10, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Some may say that the baseball gods have not been kind to Wilson Ramos, a catcher for the Washington Nationals.

Ramos made his major league debut with the Minnesota Twins in 2010, and a few weeks later, in July, he was traded to the Nationals along with pitcher Joe Testa for closer Matt Capps.

Ramos spent all of 2011 at the big league level, but after that season, he was kidnapped in his native Venezuela. He was not harmed, and authorities rescued him.

Then the right-handed Ramos batted .265 during 25 games in 2012 before a knee injury ended his season early.

In 2013, Ramos, 26, was on his way to a strong year at the plate before a hamstring injury limited him to 78 games. He hit 16 home runs with 59 RBIs, with nine doubles in 287 at bats.

Ramos reported to spring training ready to go, and new manager Matt Williams put him as the cleanup hitter when the Nationals opened the season in New York against the Mets March 31. But Ramos was injured during that game and is now on the 15-day disabled list after going hitless in three at bats. He had surgery April 2 for a left hamate fracture and is not expected to return until May.

"I have to keep working," said Ramos, standing in front of his locker in the Nationals' clubhouse before a game against the Miami Marlins April 8. "I have to be ready when I come back [to help the team]."

Ramos usually has a smile on his face and a good attitude, despite the challenges he has faced on and off the field the past few years.

But he admitted that the latest injury was a blow.

"That was pretty hard [to take]," he said in English, his second language. "I was very frustrated."

Ramos vowed to get better. 

"I am still here and working hard," Ramos said. "The doctor says 4-8 weeks [until I will be ready to play]. I feel a lot better. We will see what happens. I have to work hard and see what happens."

With Ramos out of the lineup, the Nationals have turned to catcher Jose Lobaton, whom they acquired before the season as part of a deal with Tampa Bay. Sandy Leon, who has limited big league experience, has served as the backup catcher.

Washington won six of its first eight games, beating the Marlins, 10-7, at home April 9 as Bryce Harper hit a three-run home run into the upper deck in right in the fourth, and then Jayson Werth launched a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth into the Miami bullpen in left field. The Nationals trailed, 5-0, after two innings and were losing, 7-6, before Werth went deep following an intentional walk to second baseman Anthony Rendon with one out. 

"I wasn't shocked," Werth said of the walk to Rendon. "It worked out. You want to come through for your teammates. I was happy to do that. We have to take opportunities when we get them. I never felt out of this game -- that's for sure."

There was more good news as Ryan Zimmerman returned to play third base after not being in the field the previous two games because of a sore shoulder. The Nats end the three-game series at home with the Marlins during a game that will start at 4:05 p.m. April 10.