A Nationals club that already has been forced to overcome several significant injuries will likely have to overcome yet another one after catcher Wilson Ramos appeared to seriously injure his right knee in the seventh inning of Saturday night's 2-1 win in Cincinnati.
Ramos' knee buckled while trying to corral a ball that got away from him near the plate, and he immediately collapsed in a heap. After spending several minutes on the ground, head trainer Lee Kuntz and assistant trainer Mike McGowan helped the 24-year-old carefully walk off the field, not putting any weight on his right leg.
Ramos was due to undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the injury, but manager Davey Johnson told reporters following the game he feared the catcher tore something in the knee and that he will likely be out for some time.
Jesus Flores finished the game and would take over as the Nationals' No. 1 catcher if Ramos is placed on the disabled list as expected. The 27-year-old, who had been considered the organization's long-term answer behind the plate until a major shoulder injury sidelined him nearly two years, had been seen as a possible trade chip.
Now, though, the Nationals will need to ask Flores to re-assume the everyday job while also finding a new backup. The most likely in-house candidate for a promotion is Carlos Maldonado, the 33-year-old veteran who is hitting .231 with two homers at Class AAA Syracuse. Maldonado has 25 games of big-league experience with the Pirates 2006-07) and Nationals (2010).
Ramos will become the latest key player off the Nationals' roster to miss time due to injury. Already this season, they've seen third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, left fielder Michael Morse, center fielder Rick Ankiel, right fielder Jayson Werth, utilityman Mark DeRosa, No. 5 starter Chien-Ming Wang, closer Drew Storen and setup man Brad Lidge spend time on the DL. First baseman Adam LaRoche also missed four games with a minor oblique injury.
Despite all that, the Nationals now own a 21-12 record, best in the NL East.
The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports.
Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.
The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras.
The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity.
The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117.
Related: Nationals 2017 promotional schedule includes snow globes and fedoras
The Washington Nationals recently released the dates of their promotional days and giveaways this season, and there are some real gems in this schedule.
Among the standard bobblehead giveaways — Daniel Murphy on April 14, Trea Turner on May 12 and Tanner Roark on June 9 — and the highly recommended Pups in the Park days — April 29, May 13, June 10, June 25, September 7 and September 30 — pick the right game and you could get a snow globe, an American flag shirt or even a fedora. Seriously.
On May 24’s game against the Mariners, the first 25,000 fans will get a Max Scherzer snow globe, which has the potential to be the coolest knickknack in your house. Or on June 14 against the Braves — oddly not closer to the Fourth of July — Budweiser is behind the first 15,000 21-and-up fans getting an American flag tank top.
But truly the most unique item on this list is the Nationals-themed fedora, which will go to the first 25,000 fans at the Brewers’ July 26 matchup. How the Nats landed on this promotional item remains a mystery, but if you like hats beyond a traditional baseball cap, this is the game to attend.
Other cool or oddball promotions include the Nats Magic 8-Ball game April 3, the Chewbacca Koozie day May 27, Bryce Harper action figure day August 29 and Oktoberfest beer stein day Sept. 29.
Here's the complete list of the team's promotional days and giveaways.
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