Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo acquired 29-year-old catcher Jose Lobaton from the Tampa Bay Rays this winter as insurance in case 26-year-old no.1 backstop Wilson Ramos, who has dealt with injuries and missed significant time in each of the past two seasons, once again got hurt. "Although Wilson is clearly our No. 1 catcher," Rizzo told reporters including NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman after the deal, "we certainly want him to be available throughout the whole season. And [Lobaton] is a capable backup in case something does happen with Wilson."
Three at bats into the 2014 campaign, something apparently happened. Ramos left the game after going 0 for 3 against New York Mets' starter Dillon Gee in what ended up a 9-7 Opening Day win for the Nationals, but after the game, new Nats' skipper Matt Williams delivered some bad news.
Ramos suffered some discomfort in his left hand on a foul tip in his final at bat of the game.
"He did it -- there was a foul tip and he took a swing that he didn't feel good on," Williams told reporters. "So we got him out of the game at that point and got a picture of it, so he'll see the specialist tomorrow and see where we're at."
Though Marfa Mata, a friend of the Ramos family and PR spokeswoman for Ramos reported on Twitter that he suffered a fracture of a bone in his left hand, Williams said that the first X-rays taken by the team were negative.
Wilson Ramos has a fracture on one bone of his left hand. He has surgery schedule for tomorrow in Washington DC. About 5 weeks on dl.— Marfa Mata (@Marfamata) March 31, 2014
Was wilson who told me that. We will wait more information about it.— Marfa Mata (@Marfamata) March 31, 2014
Washington Post writer James Wagner too quoted "a person a familiar with the situation" who said that the Nationals' catcher did suffer a fracture in his hand.
"Preliminary X-rays were negative," Williams said. "But he's going to see our hand specialist tomorrow."
Asked about the reports which came out during the game, the first-year skipper reiterated what he said about the original results.
FBB's Opening Day Coverage:
"Our X-rays say negative as we speak," he explained. "So we have to -- again, we'll probably get a further test on it and take a look, but the X-Rays here were negative."
The news, especially coming as it did after a late-inning comeback in the first game of the season, was especially unwelcome.
"He works really hard," Williams responded when asked about sympathizing with Ramos. "Anybody on our team you don't want to see that on Opening Day -- any time -- but especially on Opening Day. So we'll see where we're at, we'll send him to our guy and have him take a look at it."
Sandy Leon, 24, and Jhonatan Solano, 26, were expected to compete for the backup job behind Ramos before this winter's deal with the Rays to get Lobaton, so they're likely the top candidates for a call up if the Nationals need to bring a catcher up.
"We're talking about that as we speak," Williams said this afternoon, "so we'll see how it plays out tomorrow."
"We just have to make sure," he explained of the planned trip to their hand specialist. "You have a lot of little bones in there, so you have to make sure."
Following the news on Wilson's injury, there might be a chance that no surgery will needed depending on MRI results that will be done in DC— Marfa Mata (@Marfamata) March 31, 2014