Ramos resumes catching activity in rehab

Rays backstop is eyeing June for return behind the dish

Ramos resumes catching activity in rehab

ST. PETERSBURG -- A good sign for the Rays came during Thursday afternoon's pregame activities: Wilson Ramos was squatting and catching balls at Tropicana Field.

"He's been cleared to start doing some receiving work," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He's been hitting off a tee. So still in the very early stages, but anytime when you get to see him on the field, it's got to excite us a little bit."

Ramos suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Sept. 26. He spent the entire offseason recovering from the surgery that repared the ACL and made repairs to the medial meniscus and lateral meniscus.

He signed a two-year, $12.5 million deal with the Rays on Dec. 12. When he'll be ready to play this season is still to be determined.

Ramos said his knee "feels great."

"Hopefully in the next week I'll start catching bullpens and doing more catching activities," Ramos said.

Word around the Rays is that Ramos has been a tireless worker in the gym.

"All I've been doing, the working out in the gym, has worked out well for me," Ramos said. "I like to work hard. Especially at this moment, I have to work really hard to come back soon.

"Hopefully start catching bullpens next week and see how it feels first. And then try to catch bullpens every other day. I will see if I feel good to be behind the plate in June."

Ramos said he's been following a throwing program three days a week. His return, though undetermined, will bring an interesting decision for the Rays. Ramos hit .307 with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs last season, so the Rays will want to get his bat in the lineup. Do they first bring him back as a DH?

If hurried back as a DH, that may come at the expense of having him getting his catching in order. Ramos definitely has a preference.

"I want to be behind the plate," Ramos said. "I know I can play DH here, but I want to be behind the plate more than DH."

When asked about the potential decision the Rays could face, Cash said, "We're a long way from having to make those decisions."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.