It's clear, Ramos sees difference from Lasik

March 6th, 2016
Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos hopes that Lasik eye surgery will help him behind the plate. (AP Photo/John Raoux)John Raoux/AP

VIERA, Fla. -- Wilson Ramos sat as his locker at Space Coast Stadium Sunday morning, just two days removed from Lasik surgery on Friday, but he could already feel the effects.

"I see the difference right now," Ramos said. "It's pretty impressive."

He could now clearly see the board where the team schedule was posted approximately 50 feet away from his locker, where he could not three days ago. As pitcher Aaron Barrett walked by Ramos in the clubhouse, he held up two fingers and joked, "how many am I holding up?"

Ramos was most eager to resume baseball activities to really see the impact of his corrected vision. He should be able to do so during the next few days, and could be ready to play in his first Grapefruit League game as early as Wednesday.

"I know I can come back quickly, especially with my swing," Ramos said. "And for me catching is like a riding a bike, never forget that."

His eye troubles first began about three years ago, and he had been wearing contact lenses to try and help his vision. During his physical exam at the start of this spring, Dr. Keith Smithson, the Nationals director of Visual Performance, recommended Lasik surgery to Ramos, who admitted some initial apprehension considering Spring Training had just started. But Ramos became convinced after learning it was a quick surgery that would not sideline him for many days.

It is unclear just how much his vision problems affected him at the plate. His OPS+ has declined steadily during the past three years, (110 in 2013, 91 in '14 and 64 in '15). Although Ramos played a career-high 128 games last season, he had a disappointing year offensively where he batted .229/.258/.358 with a .616 OPS.

Ramos said he never thought he had any issues picking up the ball, and his most notable issues were when he looked out at the scoreboard and the numbers were blurry. The Nationals and Ramos are hoping this surgery will help him improve not only as a hitter but as a catcher as well.

"I'm wishing everything," he said. "I know it's going to help me behind the plate also. Sometimes I lose the ball in the lights, but right now I can see the difference. Probably it will help me behind the plate and in front of the plate also."