Three days after getting their starting left fielder and No. 3 hitter back from the disabled list, the Nationals are about to get their No. 1 catcher back from an injury as well.
Wilson Ramos is scheduled to be activated off the DL in time for tomorrow morning's series finale against the Brewers. He's serving as designated hitter tonight for Class A Potomac, and barring any negative developments he'll be at Nationals Park in the morning and assuming his place behind the plate for the first time since mid-May, when he re-tweaked the same hamstring muscle that forced him to the DL in April.
I think he's going to DH tonight, four at-bats or whatever he feels comfortable with," manager Davey Johnson said. "And if the reports I get are good, it'll be good to get him back."
Ramos has played in only 14 games this season, missing two weeks in April when he initially strained the hamstring and then six weeks since aggravating the same injury trying to run out a double in Los Angeles on May 15. The Nationals' Opening Day catcher was hitting .250 with two homers, three doubles and six RBI.
When the season began, Johnson had Ramos and Kurt Suzuki split the catching job 50-50, alternating days. That won't necessarily be the plan now; the veteran manager suggested he'll throw Ramos right into the fire.
"I think he's been out about 50 days," Johnson said. "He's been doing a whole lot of catching, running, whatever. So I plan on catching him tomorrow. I might even catch him the next game, too, because [Friday is] a night game. We'll see. He needs to make it through tonight."
The Nationals also expect to get Dan Haren back from the DL within the next week after the right-hander completed a simulated game against teammates this afternoon.
Haren, out with shoulder inflammation, threw about 65-70 pitches over three simulated "innings" early this afternoon, facing Chad Tracy, Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore. After receiving a cortisone shot in the shoulder, Haren said he had an easier time throwing and emerged feeling more confident about his prospects moving forward.
"My arm feels like it's moving faster," he said.
Haren thinks the two-week break also has allowed him to get a mental break and not agonize over his early season struggles.
"Having a couple bad starts in a row, especially at the end there before I went on the DL, my confidence was definitely shaken," he said. "So, just take a step back and took a couple days off throwing and try to reset. Look at it like this is gonna be the second half of the season, and I'm determined to go out there and help the team."
Johnson said Haren would likely be able to come off the DL without making a rehab start, likely returning on Tuesday in Philadelphia and taking the spot currently held by rookie Taylor Jordan.