Ramos hopes to be ready for start of season

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson said that Wilson Ramos is about a week away from appearing in a game as the designated hitter. Before he plays in that game, though, Ramos must be able to slide.

Ramos missed most of last season because of a devastating right knee injury. Johnson said the strength in the knee is about 95 percent. The team's doctor, Wiemi Douoguih, will look at Ramos this weekend and make the final decision on when the catcher will start playing again.

"My concern is, [Ramos] is doing everything and I would like to get him some at-bats -- just get him some playing time," Johnson said. "He is swinging [the bat] real well and he is looking real good. The sooner I can get him some at-bats -- every other day or something -- I'll have more of a comfort zone that he'll be ready by Opening Day. But that all depends on the medical team."

Ramos, who is slated to be the backup catcher behind Kurt Suzuki, acknowledged he is in a hurry to get back on the field, but realizes he needs to take his time.

"I have one month to get ready, and I'm pretty close," Ramos said. "Hopefully, I'll be ready for the season. That's where I want to be. I'm the type of player where I don't need [too many at-bats] to get ready. I get ready [quickly]. I think with a couple of games here, I will be ready for the season."

On a scale of one-to-100, Ramos said the knee feels "95 percent now. When I came back from Venezuela, it was feeling like 80 percent."