Friday, November 18, 2011
Ramos: "I'm happy to be here"
Updated at 2:46 p.m.
Looking healthy and deemed healthy by team doctors, Wilson Ramos made a brief appearance at Nationals Park this afternoon, thanked fans for their support during his harrowing week and then made it clear he's ready to put this all behind him.
"I just want to say thanks Nats fans for your prayers and your support," Ramos told reporters during a photo-op with general manager Mike Rizzo inside the Nationals' clubhouse. "I'm happy to be here, happy to be with my family. See you in spring training."
Flown in from Venezuela for one day so he could be examined by team doctors, Ramos assured everyone he is back to normal following his 51 hours in captivity last week. The 24-year-old catcher was greeted with hugs and tears from team executives and teammates Ryan Zimmerman and Steve Lombardozzi (who happened to be at the ballpark working out).
Rizzo said Ramos' physical exam showed no problems, and the Nationals won't hesitate to let him go back home to play winter ball as he planned all along.
"Everything was great," the GM said. "He's in terrific shape, as you can see. ... Physically, he's certainly ready to perform. Mentally and psychologically, we're certainly doing everything we have to, to prepare him for the task of playing baseball."
Ramos is scheduled to fly home tonight and resume workouts with the Aragua Tigres. He hopes to begin play Tuesday night.
"I have had no second thoughts of [letting him] playing winter ball," Rizzo said. "He plays in his country, for his country because he's very prideful of his country and loves where he lives. He plays in front of his family. We can't ask him not to do that. We have put into place things we believe will keep him safe and sound and happy and healthy there. And once we do that, we'll feel comfortable with him playing there."
Ramos, who was not permitted by team officials to answer questions, seems determined not to discuss his abduction anymore and shift his focus back to baseball.
"This, we think, puts an exclamation point and a finality to the incident," Rizzo said. "We're not going to dwell on that. We're not going to talk about that from this day forward."
Posted by Mark Zuckerman at 8:51 AM