Ramos update and other pregame notes (with lineups)

JUPITER, Fla. - After getting examined by medical director Dr. Wiemi Douoguih this morning, catcher Wilson Ramos has been cleared to take part in some sliding drills back at the Nationals' complex at Space Coast Stadium, according to manager Davey Johnson.

This will mark the first time sliding for Ramos since undergoing surgery to repair a torn right ACL and meniscus last summer.

Ramos typically tucks his right leg when he slides, which has him a little worried about how the knee will respond when he starts hitting the dirt. The Nationals have talked about teaching Ramos to tuck his left leg when he slides, which would protect the right knee.

Johnson had some advice for Ramos, which he said he was relaying to his catcher.

"I tried to get word to him, 'When he slides, just land on his ass,' " Johnson said with a laugh. "I don't care what leg he's bending. If he lands on his ass, he's covered. But I know he's champing at the bit. Hopefully he'll get through that, and we'll see. Maybe he starts taking some ABs in a game. I know he's anxious for that.

"I'm not too concerned at all about either him or (Ryan Zimmerman) getting behind the dish or playing in the field. That's the least of my concerns. But I am concerned about (them) getting at-bats and getting their timing down. That's the most important thing."

If all goes well with the sliding, the Nats hope to get Ramos in a game as the DH sometime early next week. Zimmerman is set to make his spring debut as the DH tomorrow.

Johnson said that pitcher-turned-position-player Micah Owings will have his left wrist examined by Dr. Douoguih. Owings has been held out of action for the last several days because of some tenderness in the wrist.

Left-handed reliever Will Ohman is scheduled to make his spring debut tomorrow after missing time due to a hamstring issue. Ohman is competing for the final spot in the Nationals' bullpen.

Another guy competing for that spot is left-hander Fernando Abad, who pitched another scoreless inning last night in the Nationals' win over the Braves.

Abad struck out two and allowed a hit last night. Reporters were talking to starter Jordan Zimmermann during Abad's outing, so we didn't get to see him throw, but Johnson was pleased with what he saw from the 27-year-old.

"He threw good. His command was good and the most impressive thing he did was he threw some great changeups," Johnson said. "His fastball is above average and his changeup is above average. His curveball, the consistency of it ... but the time before, he threw a couple good curveballs. So he's very interesting.

"He'll get a lot of work here. He's earned it the way he's thrown the last two."

Johnson said that Abad does not have an opt-out in his contract, so the Nats would be able to send him to Triple-A if he doesn't make the big league roster out of camp.

Here are the lineups for this afternoon's game between the Nats and Cardinals:

For the Nats
DH Danny Espinosa
2B Steve Lombardozzi
SS Ian Desmond
LF Tyler Moore
C Kurt Suzuki
1B Chris Marrero
RF Corey Brown
3B Anthony Rendon
CF Eury Perez
P Gio Gonzalez

For the Cardinals
CF Jon Jay
RF Oscar Tavaras
LF Matt Holliday
DH Allen Craig
C Yadier Molina
3B David Freese
2B Daniel Descalso
1B Ty Wigginton
SS Ronny Cedeno
P Adam Wainwright

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