More details on the rescue of Wilson Ramos

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Wilson Ramos was found safely by Venezuelan authorities on Friday, nearly 48 hours after he was taken from his home by four gunmen. Here are some more details on his rescue.

In an interview with Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, Ramos said he was lying in a bed in captivity when he began to hear an exchange of gunfire. He immediately jumped to the floor and prayed for his safety before being rescued by Venezuelan police commandos.

“They picked me up off the floor and they said, ‘Hey, Wilson, thank God, you’re safe. Let’s go home. Your family is waiting for you.’”

Ramos said his kidnappers only spoke to him briefly, saying that they were “going to ask for a ton of cash for me.” According to the family, they were never issued a demand for ransom and it’s believed they were not paid. The kidnappers did not hurt him and offered him food and water. While there are no physical scars, Ramos said, “psychologically I underwent very great harm.”

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo issued a statement earlier this morning regarding Ramos’ rescue:

“I am happy to announce that I have spoken directly with Wilson and he assures me he is unharmed but eager to be reunited with his family,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “He asked me to thank all who played a role in his rescue and all those who kept him and his family in their thoughts and prayers.

“I join Wilson in thanking the many law enforcement officials in Venezuela and investigators with Major League Baseball who worked tirelessly to ensure a positive ending to what has been a frightening ordeal. The only detail that concerns us is that Wilson is safe. The entire Washington Nationals family is thankful that Wilson Ramos is coming home.”

The Associated Press reports that five men were arrested in connection with the kidnapping, including a Colombian “linked to paramilitary groups and to kidnapping groups.”

According to Rafael Rojas of Viva Colorado, who has done a tremendous job on this story, Ramos hasn’t ruled out making another appearance in the Venezuelan Winter League in order to acknowledge the tremendous support he and his family received during his ordeal.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉