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Ramos makes progress behind plate for bullpens

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VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos took a few more steps forward at Washington's Minor League complex on Monday. He was behind the plate for two bullpen sessions, marking the first time he was able to catch two sessions in one day since having major surgery on his right knee last May.

Ramos was even able to block a couple of balls thrown by reliever Ryan Perry, which pleased the 25-year-old backstop. Ramos was initially scared to block the ball because he thought he would feel pain in his knee.

"The knee feels good. My knee is strong. It didn't get tired at all," Ramos said. "We are going step by step. Today, it was another step. I don't feel any pain."

Manager Davey Johnson is optimistic Ramos will be ready for Opening Day, when he is expected to serve as the backup to Kurt Suzuki.

"I just go by what I see," Johnson said. "[Ramos] was blocking balls, bouncing well. He looked normal."

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