WASHINGTON -- With the Nationals already nursing Bryce Harper (thumb),Daniel Murphy (buttocks) and Stephen Strasburg (forearm) back to full strength as the postseason draws closer, they will have to be prepared to play without catcher Wilson Ramos for the remainder of the season, including the postseason, with a torn ACL in his right knee.Manager Dusty Baker told reporters of the diagnosis, which followed an MRI taken on Tuesday.
Ramos left in the sixth inning of Monday's 14-4 loss to the D-backs after landing awkwardly when he jumped in the air trying to grab a relay throw on a two-run double by Yasmany Tomas. He fell to the ground and stayed there, clutching his right knee, before he was helped off the field by the team's training staff, unable to put any weight on his leg.Ramos prides himself on staying in the game despite taking a significant beating behind the plate, shaking off foul balls, bruises or pain to stay in the game. So when he went down and stayed down, the mood in the Nationals' dugout went somber."Tough moment," right-hander Tanner Roark said. "Hopefully he's all right and can get back out there and get back on his feet and hopefully nothing shows up [Tuesday]. Just be ready to go by the playoffs. It [stinks], but it's one of those things."Ramos was having a career year for the Nationals, hitting .307/.354/.496 with 22 home runs and an .850 OPS. He made his first All-Star team this season and was setting himself up nicely as a free agent this winter."I feel badly because you know how we all feel about Wilson," Baker said on Monday. "But it's part of the game. You hate [for] it to happen this late, right before the playoffs, but our next step is try to figure out a way to play without Wilson. I've been mixing and matching this year and most of my life. Therefore, it's another obstacle and I just got to try to go back to the drawing board and figure out something."Pedro Severino -- the Nats' 14th-ranked prospect according to MLBPipeline.com -- replaced Ramos on Monday, but Jose Lobaton will likely take over as the team's starting catcher. Lobaton had been dealing with a minor ankle injury, but he started and caught Sunday's game in Pittsburgh, so he appears to be healed.But the Nationals are dealing with injuries at the worst possible time as they aim to get hot and maintain their homefield advantage before a National League Division Series matchup against the Dodgers. Harper's X-rays came back negative and Murphy should be ready for the postseason, but Strasburg almost certainly will not pitch in the Division Series and now Ramos' season is over. Those are four of the five players Washington sent to the All-Star Game this year."My dad told me, 'Don't say what else can go wrong because something else can go wrong'," Baker said. "I'm thinking what else can go right? I don't think like that. I don't allow myself to think like that. Those thoughts come into everybody's head, but you've got to dispel them and try to figure out a way to get out of this mess. And who knows? Somebody else might step up and be the hero, the least likely of people. That's how I think."Jamal Collier/ MLB.com