Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Wilson Ramos caught two bullpen sessions during this morning's workout.
Ramos, though, continues to push for a heavier workload, and today the Nationals acquiesced. For the first time since he injured his right knee last May, he caught two bullpen sessions, while also taking a full round of batting practice and other drills alongside his catching counterparts.
"He did a lot today," general manager Mike Rizzo said.
Ramos had previously only caught one bullpen session per day, but this morning he squatted behind the plate for both Dan Haren and Ryan Perry. He also blocked pitches in the dirt, a key hurdle he said he wanted to overcome after injuring himself on such a play last season.
"I told him he was only going to catch one, but he wants to be on whatever everyone else is doing," manager Davey Johnson said. "He didn't want to be behind. He said the big test for him was blocking balls and how it felt the next day, and he said it felt great. So he's doing a full workload."
Though the Nationals won't make Ramos dial things back at all, they do want him to maintain a measured pace to his spring. He probably won't appear in the first week of Grapefruit League games, and once he does debut, he'll likely be limited to a couple of innings at a time while he reconditions his body for the rigors of game action.
"I like it," Rizzo said. "It's slow and steady. With the length of spring training this year, we've got the opportunity to take our time with him. But he's progressing nicely. ...
"He wants to go and go and go. And we want to be cautious with him, because we want him for the long haul. So we're going to take it step-by-step with him. So far, he's passed every threshold that we've given him."
Both Johnson and Rizzo reiterated they expect Ramos to make the Opening Day roster alongside No. 1 catcher Kurt Suzuki.
"Most definitely," Johnson said.
"Our plan is for him to be ready to catch a full game by Opening Day," Rizzo said.