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Catching depth has been one of Nats' strengths

Catching depth has been one of Nats' strengths

Catching depth has been one of Nats' strengths
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' catching depth that manager Davey Johnson raves so much about may be put to the test in the near future.

Johnson said backup catcher Jhonatan Solano has been nursing a sore oblique and could soon land on the disabled list. That will likely mean more responsibility for starter Jesus Flores, who fell into the No. 1 spot when Wilson Ramos was sidelined for the year with a right knee injury.

If the team places Solano on the DL, it will likely call up Sandy Leon, currently with Triple-A Syracuse, to lend a hand. Leon played one game, on May 14, before leaving with a high right ankle sprain suffered during a collision at home-plate -- less than 48 hours after Ramos tore his ACL in similar fashion.

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Ramos had successful surgery on Wednesday morning and is not expected to factor into the team's catching plans this season.

The club has already used five catchers this season (Ramos, Flores, Solano, Leon and Carlos Maldonado).

"I've said before, I like the depth of catchers in this organization, second to none [as far as] other organizations," Johnson said.

Flores' slash line has fallen to .229/.267/.340 due to recent struggles, and Johnson is sure the backstop is expecting too much of himself.

"He's going through a little slump here and he's putting more pressure on himself," Johnson said. "He calls a great game, he's outstanding behind the dish, catching the best [pitching] staff in baseball and helping them along. I said, 'You're important to this ballclub, more important than what you do offensively. Grinding and punishing yourself as much as you do, just relax and try to enjoy it a little bit more.'"

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