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Doctors remain cautious with Ramos' knee

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson had planned to start catcher Wilson Ramos as a designated hitter on Sunday against the Marlins, but the team doctors were against it.

The doctors want to see Ramos sliding toward the bases before he plays in a game. They want to be cautious with Ramos because he missed most of last season due to a devastating injury to his right knee. Sliding will show how much the knee has built up in strength since Spring Training started.

"He needs to get his at-bats. Missing half a season and no winter ball, I want to get that out of the way as early as possible," Johnson said about Ramos. "It may take a week to 10 days for him. If a guy is running well, squatting well and doing all the things from a baseball standpoint, that's what I grade on. I'm the most critical. I never want to run a guy out there that is an injury risk.

"Willie has been doing all the things because he doesn't want to be on a different schedule. He wants to be out with all the guys. I think it's fine being conservative. We have plenty of catching."