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Rays journal: New catcher Wilson Ramos targets May return from offseason knee surgery

Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) bunts during a Spring Training workout at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Kiermaier is one of several position players who have reported early to spring camp.
Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) bunts during a Spring Training workout at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Kiermaier is one of several position players who have reported early to spring camp.
Published Feb. 16, 2017

PORT CHARLOTTE

Free-agent signee C Wilson Ramos reported to Rays camp Wednesday saying he is still targeting a May return to action as a designated hitter but won't rush, either.

"That's kind of the goal for right now. I've been working really hard towards that," said Ramos, who had October surgery to repair an ACL and two meniscus tears, via new team interpreter Wendi Tripp.

"But I don't have any particular kind of pressure that I have to be back right then. I really want to follow the therapy and the guide to getting back to healthy to the letter so that that way I'm 100 percent when I come back. I don't want to push myself too far ahead and then fall back behind again in the game. I want to come back healthy."

Ramos, 29, said the rehabilitation is going well from the surgery he had after being hurt late in an All-Star season with Washington. He is roughly projected to get back behind the plate around the All-Star break, but one reason he signed with the Rays — taking a two-year deal for $12.5 million, with another $5.75 million in incentives — was to return first as a DH.

Ramos was two days late reporting to camp because of what he said were logistical arrangements for his wife and daughter living in South Florida.

Special K

Getting engaged was just part of what CF Kevin Kiermaier called the best offseason of his career, which also included his second Gold Glove and hefty raise to $2.975 million. "Life is good for me right now," he said. Kiermaier said he wants to focus just on baseball from now on. He wants to be more consistent at the plate and, though willing to do whatever is asked, said he is very comfortable hitting in the No. 2 spot.

Day tripper

INF/OF Nick Franklin had a busy offseason in Orlando but said he still had time for his part-time job, working a few days as an Uber driver. "I made nine, 10 trips," he said. "And I still have, like, a 4.8 rating."

Medical matters

RHP Erasmo Ramirez missed the workout to receive treatment for his left hamstring, tweaked covering first base Tuesday. RHP Jose De Leon skipped a scheduled bullpen session due to mid-back tightness. Both could be on the mound today.

Quip of the day

"I'm not sure how bad he tweaked it or if … I overworked him last year and he said, 'To hell with this, I'm not going to let him do it again.' "

Manager Kevin Cash, on RHP Erasmo Ramirez's hurt left hamstring that caused him to miss Wednesday's workout

Number of the day

6 Rays spring games to be televised by Fox Sports Sun: March 12, 19 and 25 with its crew, opposing team announcers on March 7 (Yankees) and March 13 and 28 (Twins)

Spring things

. Three of the 64 roster players hadn't reported: 3B Evan Longoria, 1B Logan Morrison and DH/1B Rickie Weeks.

. Manager Kevin Cash noted the impressive bullpen work of RHP Brad Boxberger, who is down about 20 pounds.

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. Though some pitchers just threw during early bullpen sessions, RHP Chris Archer worked on specific sequences and counts, some with OF Mallex Smith standing at the plate.

. Tired of battling the wind, RHP Alex Colome (right) gave up and threw the second half of his bullpen session without his hat on.

The dish

Today's workout for pitchers and catchers starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Road, and will last about 21/4 hours. Admission and parking are free. Driving time from the bay area is 11/2-2 hours. Suggested route: Interstate 75 South to Toledo Blade Road, go west 61/2 miles to El Jobean Road (SR 776), go right 2 miles, stadium complex is on left. For more information: (941) 235-5025