July 21, 2024

Harold Ramírez swiftly introduced himself and shook hands with his new colleagues when entering the Nationals’ clubhouse at Petco Park on Monday afternoon.

The 29-year-old made the rounds with a huge smile before putting on his pregame gear.

“I really feel very excited to be here in the big leagues, to be here with the Nationals,” Ramirez told reporters. “I just really want to give my 100 percent and take advantage of this opportunity.”

Ramírez pinch batted against the Padres on Monday and Tuesday after flying cross-country. He started Wednesday’s 8-5 loss as the designated hitter and batted sixth. Ramírez went 1-for-4 with an RBI single.

“He loves swinging the bat,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He’s a nice teammate; I’ve seen him chat to everyone and whatnot. So he’s been doing well. We’ll give him several at bats and hopefully get him rolling. I know he can drive the ball; he hit a great shot to right field today. “We’ll need him.”

Ramírez joins the Nationals, his fourth Major League team. The Rays designated him for assignment on June 7. Eight days later, the Nationals signed him to a minor league contract. They wanted him to get back into game action, so he played seven games with the Triple-A Red Wings (hitting.375) before being called up for the Padres series.

“He DH’d, and he played some first with Tampa,” Martinez explained. “We’re going to get him some work out in left field, or anywhere in the outfield, and then we’ll take it from there. But we do love his bat.”

Ramírez’s power figures with the Rays, including career highs in hits, homers, RBIs, runs, walks, stolen bases, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS, decreased from his.313 batting average the following season. In his first 48 games this season, he batted.268 with one homer.

“Like I did before, I got to take advantage of every at-bat I have,” Ramirez told reporters. “I just got to have a good approach.”

Ramírez, a right-handed batter, provides a valuable matchup to the Nationals’ lineup, which already has lefty-hitting outfielders Eddie Rosario and Jesse Winker. Since 2020, Ramírez has the highest batting average (.337) versus southpaws.

“I expect him to do what he did last year in Tampa,” Martinez added. “He had a very good year last year. He has exceptional hitting abilities. We could use that bat, especially against left-handed pitching.”

The series in San Diego offered insight into Ramírez’s potential role in the Nationals’ lineup. On Monday, he pinch-hit for Rosario in the eighth inning against lefty Adrian Morejon. The following day, he pinch-hit for Rosario again in the sixth inning against southpaw Wandy Peralta. Ramírez hit his first double for the Nats against righty Jeremiah Estrada in the eighth inning.

 

Harold Ramírez finishes first series with Nationals

 

“He seemed like he was trying to take some good quality team at-bats,” right fielder Lane Thomas said. “He got a hit yesterday with the double, and I think he’s going to be a good piece for us.”

The Nationals will play three games in Tampa, Ramírez’s home field, from 2022-24, beginning on Friday. Ramírez will see his former teammates, but he already has many familiar faces on the Nationals. He stated that knowing Rosario, Joey Meneses, Ildemaro Vargas, and Keibert Ruiz beforehand allows him to quickly establish team chemistry.

Ramírez smiled in San Diego due to his ease and excitement for new opportunities.

“I’m always like that,” Ramírez explained. “I simply try to live my life. I’m constantly smiling. I’m always messing about like a young kid. So that is my personality.

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