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Ramos has strong day in return to action

WASHINGTON -- A little less than 11 months ago, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos chased after a passed ball during a game in Cincinnati and tore the meniscus in his right knee, ending his season.

On Monday afternoon at Nationals Park, the 25-year-old was in the Opening Day lineup against the Marlins, capping a long road to recovery following a pair of surgeries. Even better, Ramos went 1-for-2 with a walk and caught all nine innings of a 2-0 victory in his first regular-season game since the injury.

"He's looked great all spring, so we've had a chance to see him for almost a full month now, and I'm just happy for him," third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "He's such a good young player and a great teammate, and you hate to see anything bad like that happen, but that's what happens in sports. I think the way he went through it and fought to get back so quickly, I think that tells you what kind of person he is."

For the second year in a row, Ramos is coming back from a difficult situation. In November 2011, he was abducted in his native Venezuela and held for 51 hours before his rescue by government forces.

The previous season, he had finished fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year Award voting, after posting a .267/.334/.445 batting line and slugging 15 home runs in 113 games. He made it through only 25 games in 2012 before the injury struck, but teammates weren't surprised to see him make it back.

"I know the guy," shortstop Ian Desmond said. "We're around him all the time, and I remember last year after the whole kidnapping thing, he came back completely humbled and he was on track to do something special last year and he gets injured, and then he worked hard."

Desmond was watching before Monday's game when Ramos stepped on a scale and weighed in at 235 pounds, exactly what he told the team's training staff he would get to for Opening Day.

Ramos was excited on Friday, when he learned he would get the Opening Day start over veteran Kurt Suzuki, who is slated to split time behind the plate with Ramos this season. That carried into Monday, as he walked in his first at-bat, singled in his second and helped guide starter Stephen Strasburg through seven efficient shutout innings.

"We all go through trials and tribulations, and they build your character, and this is a perfect example," Desmond said. "He definitely looks at baseball in a different light now."

Tom Schad is an associate reporter for Andrew Simon is a contributor to
Read More: Washington Nationals, Ian Desmond, Denard Span, Christian Garcia, Wilson Ramos