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Sliding remains last hurdle for recovering Ramos

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has just one thing left on his to-do list before the Nationals feel he's adequately prepared for Spring Training action: sliding.

Ramos, working his way back from tearing his right ACL in May of last season, says his knee has improved from about 80 to 95 percent since he arrived at camp, and has been doing just about everything save for playing in games. His workload has continued to increase, as he began to catch bullpens on back-to-back days, blocked balls and continued to hit.

"I said he's game ready for the last week, but what do I know?" said manager Davey Johnson. "But there's no major hurry … except that he missed all of last year and didn't play winter ball. I wanted to get him swinging the bat a little bit. But he's swinging the heck out of it in BP. I like his stroke."

Ramos, who did not make the trip to Orlando for Washington's game against the Braves, said he hoped to slide Tuesday, and see game action by mid-March. Johnson has remained confident throughout camp that Ramos will be on the Opening Day roster, but Ramos will likely still need time before he can move into the regular starting role he held before the injury.

"He's very comfortable in his own skin," Johnson said. "I'd rather be on the cautious side with him before he gets involved. He feels like he's close, but if we get the doctors on the same page, I'll be ready to let him go run out there."

Ramos will likely begin his game action as a designated hitter before stepping behind the plate.

"I would be excited for that," Ramos said. "I will be very happy to be in those white lines. I'm waiting for that moment."