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Catcher eager to put ordeal in past

ADJUSTING: The Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez takes ground balls at third base, his new position after spending his career at short.

Associated Press

ADJUSTING: The Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez takes ground balls at third base, his new position after spending his career at short.

VIERA — Three months have passed since Wilson Ramos' budding baseball career was interrupted by a gunpoint kidnapping in his native Venezuela.

Yet there the catcher was Tuesday, smiling and laughing alongside his Nationals teammates during their first full workout for pitchers and catchers.

his ordeal, Ramos, 24, was emotional and candid in talking about the harrowing two days he was held in the Venezuelan mountains before being freed by a bullet-filled rescue.

Now as he prepares for his second full season in Washington, Ramos said he has put it behind him and wants to only talk about baseball going forward.

"I feel like I'm living again," Ramos said. "I've got a new life. Everybody in my family is happy with me. My family before was a little separated, and now everybody's together. So that's good for me and my family. I'm happy for that and I will play hard for my family and my team."

Last season Ramos became the Nationals' primary catcher, appearing in 113 games. In line to be the opening day starter in 2012, he decided to go home to Venezuela to play winter ball.

Before he could play his first game, Ramos was seized outside his parents' home one night and driven away by his abductors. It was the first known kidnapping of a major-leaguer in Venezuela.

HANLEY AT THIRD: Marlins All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez worked out at third base for the first time, fielding practice grounders and sending the strongest signal yet that he's willing to make the change.

When Ramirez came off the field, he was asked if he's okay with the switch. "I never said I'm not going to do it," he said. "I'm positive mentally. I feel great."

Miami signed All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes to a $106 million, six-year deal in December.

MANNY'S NEW GIG: Manny Ramirez is expected to join the Athletics at their spring facility on Friday. Ramirez, 39, played five games with the Rays last season before retiring rather than face a 100-game drug suspension. "I'm feeling really good, mostly on a spiritual level. I'm very confident with the shape I'm in heading to spring training," Ramirez said during an interview on Dominican radio.

ROTATION TRANSITION: Aroldis Chapman will be tested as a starter this spring by the Reds. The left-hander, 24, has a 3.27 ERA in 69 relief appearances over the past two seasons.

ICHIRO MOVED DOWN: Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he will begin the season having third baseman Chone Figgins bat leadoff and rightfielder Ichiro Suzuki third. It would be the first time that Suzuki, 38, an 11-year veteran, has not batted leadoff on a regular basis.

EPSTEIN COMPENSATION: The Cubs sent right-handed reliever Chris Carpenter and a player to be named to the Red Sox for a player to be named, settling a four-month dispute over what Boston should get as compensation when general manager Theo Epstein left for Chicago.

GIANTS: Right-hander Tim Lincecum didn't throw because of lower back soreness and is considered day-to-day.

INDIANS: Infielder Cristian Guzman took a physical and said he will sign a minor-league deal.

METS: Left-hander Johan Santana, who missed all of last season after 2010 shoulder surgery, reported no problems after throwing a bullpen session.

NATIONALS: First-base prospect Chris Marrero tore his hamstring playing in the Dominican Republic and is expected to miss at least the first half of the season.

ROCKIES: Triple-A left-hander Joseph Torres was suspended for 50 games under baseball's minor-league drug program.

Catcher eager to put ordeal in past 02/21/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 10:36pm]
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