Ramos injures left hand; X-rays negative
Catcher exits Opening Day contest vs. Mets in seventh inning
NEW YORK -- The Nationals may have been dealt a serious blow on Monday afternoon. Catcher Wilson Ramos left the team's 9-7 Opening Day victory over the Mets in the middle of the seventh inning with an injury to his left hand. X-rays taken after the game came back negative, and he will see a specialist today.
According to manager Matt Williams, the injury occurred during the top of the seventh when Ramos was in the batter's box against Mets right-hander Dillion Gee. Ramos struck out looking.
"There was a foul tip, and he took a swing and he didn't feel good on it, so we got him out of the game at that point," Williams said. "We got a picture of it, so he will see the specialist tomorrow and we'll see where we're at."
Jose Lobaton took over behind the plate for Ramos, who had gone 0-for-3 before exiting.
Ramos has had plenty of bad luck over the past three years. He missed most of the 2012 season because of a devastating injury to his right knee and he missed half of the 2013 campaign because of hamstring issues. Now this.
"He works really hard, and nobody on our team [wants] to see that [happen] on Opening Day, or any time," Williams said. "We'll see where we are at. We'll send him to our guy and have him take a look at it."
While they await the results, the Nationals are thinking about adding a catcher to the 25-man roster. They could call up Sandy Leon or Jhonatan Solano, both of whom were less than stellar in the Minors last year. Leon was one of the final players sent to Minor League camp this past Spring Training.
If Ramos goes on the disabled list, Lobaton will be the No. 1 catcher.
"I feel bad for Wilson. He is my friend," Lobaton said. "I talked to him a little bit, and he is just waiting, and we'll see what happens. But I have no idea what's going on. ... He was normal [when I saw him]. He said, 'I don't know right now. I just have to see what happens.' And I said, 'Good luck.'"
Williams had big plans for Ramos this season, and for the season opener placed Ramos in the cleanup spot, followed by outfielder Bryce Harper.
The skipper said, simply, that Ramos is "one of the best middle-of-the-lineup guys," even though Ramos doesn't have much experience hitting fourth. Most of his at-bats had come from the eight-spot.
Prior to Monday, Ramos was 6-for-20 with two RBIs as a cleanup hitter.
During Spring Training, Ramos led the team in RBIs, with 13. Williams thought about Ramos as his cleanup hitter for a couple of weeks.
Ramos found out that he was hitting cleanup on Sunday by looking at the lineup card. What was his reaction? He was surprised, but ready to drive in runs.
"I feel excited. It's not the first time," Ramos said. "I know [I've not hit in the cleanup spot many times] in my career [in Washington]. But I feel comfortable in the fourth spot. ... I feel happy because the manager has confidence in me, so it made me feel good."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.