Wilson Ramos was wearing a smile this afternoon, something you don't often see on a player's face the day after he needed to leave a game due to the aggravation of a previous injury.
Turns out, Ramos' left hamstring is not seriously injured, and will likely only knock him from the Nationals' lineup for a couple of days.
"(I'm) a little bit happy because it's not too hurt," Ramos said. "I felt a little bit yesterday sore in my hamstring, but it's not in the big part of the hamstring. It's down in the hamstring, a little bit behind the knee. So I'm really excited right now. I don't feel hurt like I have to go on the DL, so that's good for me."
Ramos had twice injured the bigger part of his hamstring this season, and there was some concern last night that he could've suffered a similar injury after being pulled from the Nats' 4-2 win over the Giants before the fifth inning. Ramos had hustled down the line trying to beat out an RBI groundout in the fourth, and came up gingerly.
The 26-year-old catcher was thankful the rain delay came when it did last night, as he says he would've tried to keep playing through the discomfort if not for the delay prior to the fifth inning.
Ramos says he didn't get an MRI on the hamstring, and the Nats feel he's avoided the type of injury that could push him to the disabled list.
Manager Davey Johnson will check in on Ramos and get updates from the medical staff in the coming days, but he'll also rely on his own eyes before determining when to put Ramos back in the lineup.
"Let him go through a regular workout and see how he looks and see how he feels," Johnson said. "Let him hit, let him run the bases."
Ramos felt good when he woke up this morning and came to Nats Park early to get examined and get a workout in. He spent some time in the hot tub, worked on the leg and went for a run, and the Nats liked how he looked coming out of the busy afternoon. Ramos says he isn't especially concerned about this being the third time this season that he's injured the same hamstring, but did say that when he returns, he does plan to adjust the way he plays in the near future.
"I was talking to you guys the other day about how hard I need to run," Ramos said. "So yesterday that was a good example. The ball hit the pitcher and went to the other side. In that moment, I said, 'I need to run hard, try to get a base hit.' But that happens. ... Next time for me, easy out. I'm not going to try to do too much, not anymore."
Johnson's take on that?
"That's easy to say, but as soon as you hit one where he thinks he's got an infield hit, he's gonna go hard," Johnson said. "That's just human nature. The last time, the time before that, he hit a double. He could've walked to second. That was in LA. But I think it's that first move coming out (of the box) that you need to be careful with."
Ramos had started nine of the Nats' last 10 games prior to suffering the injury, a heavy workload for any catcher, much less one coming off multiple hamstring injuries this season and a blown-out knee a year ago. But as far as Johnson's concerned, Ramos' workload isn't an issue.
"He's played pretty much every day since he last came off and that has to be, what, three weeks? Over a month? So he's strong as a horse," Johnson said. "Even he came to me the other day, he was real mad at me when I didn't play him the day game after the night game. So just being cautious. He said 'I don't got to miss anything. I don't want to miss nothing. I missed enough already.' "
Ramos is the far more productive of the Nats' two catchers offensively this season, (he has a .290/.322/.483 slash line compared to the .218/.274/.310 line put up by Kurt Suzuki), but it'll be interesting to see whether his workload is at all adjusted after coming back from this latest hamstring issue.
Meanwhile, Johnson said that Gio Gonzalez's lower back has improved after tightening up on the left-hander during his start last night. Both Johnson and Gonzalez said last night that they didn't think the injury would be an issue going forward, and Johnson repeated that message today.
"I checked with him and he's a lot better today," Johnson said. "He went and worked out and no problem. So that's good news."
Jordan Zimmermann starts tonight for the Nats, this after Johnson indicated following Zimmermann's last start that a neck issue, which had bugged the righty earlier in the season, was again proving to be a nuisance. Zimmermann brushed off injury questions after his last start, and Johnson said that the neck doesn't appear to be an issue entering tonight's game.
"He threw good on the side," Johnson said. "I'm not really concerned about him. He's a bull. I expect him to start a really good run. (He's getting) just normal treatment. Not like it was before. So he's fine."
Stephen Strasburg battled through a strained groin in his last start, but Johnson said that Strasburg "seemed to be fine too."
Johnson also reported that right-hander Taylor Jordan felt some discomfort in his back after going to the dentist, something that shouldn't pose an issue for Jordan's next start but apparently leaves Dan Haren as the Nats' healthiest starter. He's also been the most effective of the bunch lately.