TORONTO — Wilson Ramos does not feel 100 percent, he said Sunday. His hamstrings are ailing. His left wrist is still sore.
But he drove in three runs in a 8-3 win over the Blue Jays. Ramos has been the Phillies' hottest hitter since he joined the team Aug. 15. And that is what makes his health a predicament. Sunday was just his sixth game. The Phillies want to ride Ramos as much as they can during the season's final five weeks. They also must monitor his health to avoid burning him out.
"We'd love to ride him. We'd like to play him four times, five times a week if possible. A lot of that depends on how well he's recovering so we don't get overzealous and put him at risk in any way," manager Gabe Kapler said.
"Kind of like we did at the very beginning of the season, we're balancing winning today's baseball game with the long-term health and well-being of our players. In this particular case with Ramos, it's balancing winning tomorrow with having him healthy through September and into October."
Ramos went 4 for 5 with a two-run homer Sunday. The most impressive thing, Rhys Hoskins said, is that everything Ramos hits seems to be hit hard. He has 12 hits in his first 25 at-bats with the Phillies but he has missed as many games — six — as he has played.
The catcher came to the team with a left hamstring injury and the Phillies monitored that, but then Ramos became bothered with a sore right hamstring because his body was not balanced from his left hamstring injury. He added a left-wrist injury last weekend when he was catching.
There is a clear difference when Ramos is in the lineup. That much was clear on Sunday after he missed the first two games in Toronto. The Phillies have to find a way to keep him in it as much as possible.
"I can play sore," Ramos said. "For some reason people call me 'The Buffalo.' I have that strength, so I play. I can play. I can support my team. I'm not ready to run 100 percent, but I can do my job and play and that's very important to me. If I can do a really good job on offense it's another good step. \
"I want to play. I want to play every day. I want to help my team make the playoffs. We're in a good spot right now to make the playoffs, but I understand if they want to give me two days per week off that's good because they want me to rest a little bit and get better. But I'll talk to skip and try to tell him I'm ready to play, I'm ready to work."