Wilson Ramos wanted desperately to get back to playing baseball in Venezuela earlier this offseason, even though the haunting memories of his November abduction were still fresh in his mind.
Nearly three months later, it doesn't appear Ramos' on-field performance has suffered at all.
The Nationals catcher just completed a strong run through the Venezuelan Winter League playoffs and on Sunday helped lead Aragua to the league championship and a berth in the prestigious Caribbean Series.
Ramos' third-inning sacrifice fly brought home one of Aragua's three runs; he then guided his club's pitching staff through nine strong innings to produce a 3-1 victory over La Guaira in Game 6 of the best-of-seven series.
Aragua won the series, four games to two, and Ramos was among his team's top performers. He started all six games behind the plate and wound up hitting .450 (9-for-20) with two doubles, two RBI and two walks.
Ramos' numbers steadily improved over the course of the winter. After hitting just .218 in 25 regular-season games, he raised his average to .281 in 19 postseason games. His total stats over 44 games in Venezuela this offseason: a .245 average, one homer, eight RBI and five doubles.
Ramos will now catch for Aragua in the Caribbean Series, which annually pits the champions of the Venezuelan, Dominican, Puerto Rican and Mexican winter leagues in a round-robin tournament. The Series begins Thursday in Santo Domingo, D.R.