PORT ST. LUCIE — For a change, Wilson Ramos spent the offseason concentrating on something other than strengthening his right knee.
The All-Star catcher has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee twice, turning recent winters more into grueling rehab sessions rather than chances to prepare for upcoming seasons.
“Last year I was working out more with my knee, getting stronger, but this year, I worked on everything: agility, speed,” said Ramos, who signed a two-year deal worth $19 million with the Mets in December and reported to camp Tuesday. “I am not a fast runner, but I need to work on that and that’s what I did this offseason. I am still working on that right now, but I have to keep in shape.”
Ramos’ biggest challenge will be remaining on the field, after two straight seasons in which he missed extensive action. In 2018, he appeared in 111 games for the Rays and Phillies, posting a combined slash line of .306/.358/.487 with 15 homers and 70 RBIs.
Behind Ramos at catcher, the Mets have Travis d’Arnaud, Devin Mesoraco and Tomas Nido, giving the team ample depth.
Ramos was asked how many games he would expect to play.
“I don’t want to say right now 150, 140 games, but I want to be behind the plate as much as I can and that’s how I am working right now,” he said. “I am working to be healthy and help my team behind the plate.”
Ramos spent much of his early career with the Nationals, catching the likes of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. He will put this Mets rotation, which prominently features Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler, on the same level.
“We have a good pitching staff, good rotation,” Ramos said. “Those guys throw the ball really good and I want to work with them and stay on the same page for the season.”