Wilson Ramos watches his second homer of Wednesday's game fly over the fence.
Ramos managed to knock down that final barrier yesterday, lofting a solo homer to right in the third inning of the Nationals' 11-2 exhibition win over the Braves. Then he knocked it down again one inning later, crushing a three-run homer to deep left-center.
It was a triumphant way for Ramos to finish off his spring, one that proved far more encouraging than even his most ardent supporters could have predicted.
"Every action, he has looks perfect to me," manager Davey Johnson said. "Blocking balls, the speed with which he picked it up, it's even better than it was last year [before he got hurt]."
Though he was admittedly hesitant to perform some baseball activities when he reported to camp seven weeks ago, Ramos now doesn't even think about his knee once he takes the field.
"Nope, it feels great," he said. "I clear my mind about my knee. I'm not thinking about my knee, nothing. Just go out there and working hard."
The results have been overwhelmingly positive. Yesterday's two-homer barrage leaves Ramos with a .353 batting average in the Grapefruit League. He's also posted an impressive .559 slugging percentage that trails only Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman among Nationals position players who will make the Opening Day roster.
Ramos has particularly picked up the pace up over the last few days, since he began fine-tuning his offensive game with hitting coach Rick Eckstein.
"At the beginning of spring, I was just concentrating on getting ready with my knee," he said. "Now the knee feels 100 percent. At the beginning of spring, I was not working with my swing at all. Three days ago, I started working on my swing with ... Eckstein. He teach me a couple things. Now it feels great at the plate."
The only remaining question about Ramos is when he'll be introduced Monday at Nationals Park: With the reserves and pitchers or as a member of the starting lineup?
Johnson continues to keep that decision a secret. He may have inadvertently dropped a hint yesterday when he had Kurt Suzuki catch Stephen Strasburg in a minor-league game, though the manager insisted later we shouldn't read anything into that.
If Ramos does get the nod on Monday, it will cap a remarkable comeback from a major knee injury, not to mention a traumatic 2011-12 offseason during which he survived a kidnapping in his native Venezuela.
And the significance of all that won't be lost on Ramos.
"Last year, I catch Opening Day. That's one of the best moments of my career," he said. "This year, I'm waiting for that moment again."