Before last night's game with the Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams updated reporters on Wilson Ramos and the 26-year-old catcher's continuing rehab. Ramos played his first game in extended Spring Training on Friday and the results were... uh... well, about those concerns that his power might be sapped after he had surgery remove the hamate bone from his left hand?:
Williams said there was a possibility that Ramos could return during the Nationals' quick three-game homestand with the LA Dodgers this week, but as he explained to reporters including The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, he wants to be sure Ramos is 100% recovered and more importantly in game shape so the big catcher doesn't suffer another injury that will cost him more time after he missed the first month of the season following the Opening Day injury to his hand:
"'We don’t want to rush him too fast,' Williams said. 'We want to make sure his legs are in shape.'"
Nationals' first baseman Adam LaRoche is already dealing with a leg issue, a quad in his case, which was bad enough that he sat out one of the games in Houston and was lifted from last night's game in Philadelphia after driving in the go-ahead run in the eighth.
LaRoche made his way around to third when Ian Desmond doubled in the next at bat after his hit, but came out of the game after that, with the Nationals rallying and, as Matt Williams explained, looking to add on to what was a 5-3 lead at that point.
"He's okay," Williams said after the game. "He feels a little bit better today than he did in Houston. Still it's bothering him.
"In that inning, he certainly couldn't score and then he was feeling a little rough about a sac fly and being able to score. So at that time we're looking to add on runs and certainly don't want him hurt so that's why we made the switch."
"It's of an everyday evaluation thing right now," Williams said when asked if LaRoche would be back in the lineup tonight, "but like I said he feels better than he did in Houston which is a good sign."
LaRoche told reporters he would be in the lineup:
Adam LaRoche said his quad is "not good." Also said, "I'm playing" tomorrow.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) May 3, 2014
While the Nationals were in Philadelphia and Ramos was in Florida, 30-year-old Nats' starter Doug Fister was in Reading, PA's FirstEnergy Stadium, making his second rehab start for the Nationals' Double-A affiliate, the Harrisburg Senators.
Matt Williams explained last week that the plan this time out was for Fister to get up to around five innings and 75-ish pitches in his second competitive outing. After that, barring any issues or setbacks, he would likely be ready to make his debut with the Nationals as soon as this Wednesday in the series finale with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Fister got up to 76 pitches last night, in just 3 2/3 IP, giving up two hits, three walks and two earned runs while striking out five and inducing five ground ball outs from the 16 batters he faced.
Williams said he was told everything went well.
"He came out fine. They said something about he got almost his pitch count, 78 or something like that but everything is good."
Will Fister make his Nationals debut this week? The right-hander told The Washington Post's James Wagner he thinks he's capable of pitching in the majors now. "'I do feel like I’m ready. Physically, I’m to the point where I can go out there and throw [up] to 100 pitches and have the stamina to continue.'"
Will Ramos and Fister make it back while the Nationals are in D.C. and before they head out to Oakland?