A torn ACL near the end of 2016 kept Wilson Ramos sidelined for the first three months of the 2017 season, but he still ended up playing in 64 games for his new club, compiling a .260/.290/.447 slash line with 11 homers in 224 plate appearances. While his numbers represented a sizable step back from his All-Star campaign in 2016, we're willing to chalk that up mostly to rust coming off the knee injury. He started off slow upon returning, hitting just .200/.228/.360 in his first 23 games, but improved greatly in each of the final two months of the season, slashing .274/.321/.411 in August (22 games) followed by an impressive .317/.328/.600 in September (19 games) to close out the year. Ramos has never played more than 135 games in a season -- and may never do so -- but when healthy, he's among the more potent bats at the position.
Ramos went 1-for-2 with a two-run double in a 6-6 Grapefruit League tie with the Red Sox on Thursday. The backstop came into the contest hitless over the prior two games and with just a pair of singles in 14 spring plate appearances overall, so the clutch two-bagger was a welcome sight. Ramos played an abbreviated season in 2017, logging a modest 221 plate appearances over 64 games after getting a late start due to offseason knee surgery. His final .260/.290/.447 line was serviceable, but his OBP saw a steep drop from the .354 figure he'd posted in 2016 with the Nationals. Now set to play a full season as the primary backstop, he'll look to approximate or exceed the 22 home runs, 80 RBI and .307 average -- all career bests -- that he produced in his breakout 2016 campaign.
Ramos is out of the lineup Sunday against the Orioles. The Rays are sitting a few of their regular starters for the last game of the season, and Ramos is no exception. Curt Casali will start behind the dish in his place. Ramos missed the start of the season as he was rehabbing a knee injury. As a result he was only able to play in 64 games. When healthy, he slashed .260/.290/.446 and hit 11 home runs.
Ramos is not in the lineup for Friday's game against the Orioles, according to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times. Manager Kevin Cash has taken it easy on Ramos late in the season, giving him every other game off since last Sunday. That trend will continue, though rather than Jesus Sucre getting the start Friday, Curt Casali will instead.
Ramos went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run during Thursday's win over the Yankees. The backstop is on a mini heater with a 9-for-18 stretch at the dish that includes two homers and 10 RBI through his past five games. Ramos has been limited to just 63 games for the season, but he's been a serviceable catching option in deeper settings in the second half. Health permitting, he's a prime candidate for a rebound campaign in 2018.
Ramos is out of the lineup Wednesday against the Yankees, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Jesus Sucre will start at catcher while Ramos heads to the bench. Heading into Wednesday, Ramos had started five of Tampa Bay's last seven games. In that time he hit .471 with a 1.180 OPS and eight RBI.