Ramos on knee injury and rehab: “All I can do is stay positive”

Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos spoke for the first time following the announcement that he is out for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Ramos said he has had a little bit of time to organize his thoughts and think about what is next after injuring his knee Monday night against the Diamondbacks. As with most ACL injury cases, team doctors will wait for the swelling to go down in the knee before proceeding with surgery.

“I feel a little bit more relaxed,” Ramos said through interpreter Octavio Martinez. “I’ve had a few days to take a step back and think about it. It’s obviously very frustrating for me going through this towards the end. But all I can do is stay positive and make sure I get my rest, rehab properly and come back stronger.”

Ramos ended up hitting .307 with 22 homers and 80 RBIs in 131 games, all career-highs.

“I’m very pleased with the season and the way it’s gone this year. I’ve worked hard to put up the offensive numbers that I did this year, especially after a disappointing last season,” Ramos said via Martinez. “I worked real hard and got the results that I was looking for this season. I was very excited and please with what I did. It’s a very frustrating time for me as well right now, going through this situation, but all I can do is make sure I prepare right, rehab right, get stronger.

“I’ve received a lot of messages of support from family, my teammates and fans. All are wishing me the best of luck and are keeping me in their prayers for everything to go as well as can be with the surgery and the rehab so I can make a quick recovery. All of that helps me out, uplifts me and gives me strength to hopefully get through this moment, this tough moment, and rehab as quickly as possible and come back stronger than ever.”

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Manager Dusty Baker realizes what the team is up against without a player like Ramos in their lineup.

“It makes it more difficult. It’s bound to make it more difficult,” Baker said. “This guy is the No. 1 offensive catcher in a lot of different areas, with a team that’s already had some sporadic output from our offense. He’s a big part of it. You’re taking out 20 home runs, 20-something home runs, most important 80 RBIs. And Wilson’s our two-out RBI guy. He’s the best that we have. Him and (Daniel) Murphy are the best that we have, which plays big in the playoffs. I’ve lost pitchers close to this playoff time, like when I was in Cincinnati I lost Homer Bailey, I lost (Mat) Latos, I had half of Johnny Cueto, but I don’t think I’ve ever lost a position player this close to the playoffs.

“My son, who’s even more positive than me, told me, he said ‘Dad, this is when you’re at your best.’ I said, ‘thanks, son.’”

Ramos believes he will have to watch the team in its quest for a World Series from his home in Florida as he rehabs the knee injury.

“It’s going to be very difficult, taken the circumstances,” Ramos said via Martinez. “I wish I was out there helping the team as much as possible but at the same time, I got to be a professional and a good team and support the team from home as much as I can so that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to watch and support the team and hopefully they go far.”

But Baker has a different idea of how Ramos can assist the club as an advisor and mentor.

“He can contribute a lot because he’s usually positive,” Baker said. “He’s seen a lot of these guys. He can help Severino out quite a bit. Offensively and defensively help with the scouting report. I’m hoping that he’s available and sticks around. I’m going to try to convince him even though it could be painful after that operation because he’s going through a serious time and the sooner he gets it done the sooner he’ll recover.”

Baker even went further, describing how important Ramos is to the club and how the Nationals can’t afford to lose too many of these type starters and still be successful.

“He’s a big part of our team the last couple days when he hadn’t been in the dugout there’s a spot missing in the dugout,” Baker said. “When Murphy is in getting treatment, I don’t hear that talking down there, that teaching. Everybody in this equation, you take out one or two guys in the equation then you have a different equation. You have a different spirit, a different attitude and outlook toward things. It’s very important that the guys stay together. Talk about the circle incomplete without one of your big spiritual guys there.”

Another critical question is the future of Ramos with the Nationals as he becomes a free agent in 2017. Ramos hopes to return to the club but understands one option might be even to play with an American League club in the future.

“This organization has given me the opportunity to grow play a role as much as I have and I’m very appreciative of all that,” Ramos said via Martinez. “I would love to stay here and keep playing with this team. They’ve given me an opportunity in my career that I haven’t gotten anywhere else.

“Unfortunately, this injury happened so close to the end and it may affect whether I’m able to stay with a National League team or not, but if it’s up to me, I definitely would like to keep playing for the Nationals and play as long as I can.”

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