Wilson Ramos is happy to be in a pennant race.
And he's confident he'll be joining it very soon.
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The Phillies acquired the slugging catcher in a trade with Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Ramos joined his new team on Thursday and took batting practice before the game against Miami. Of course, he was not in the starting lineup because he is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He suffered the injury on July 14.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has put the best-case scenario for Ramos' return at two weeks, but he did not rule out the player needing until September to be ready.
What does Ramos think?
"I don't know exactly the day, but it's not going to take too long," Ramos said. "I feel a lot better right now and I'm trying to do my best to come back soon and strong. I'm 100 percent sure that I'll be back this month. Probably in the middle of the month, not more than that. I think two weeks and I'll probably be fine."
Ramos, a two-time All-Star, hit .297 with 14 homers, 53 RBIs and an .834 OPS in 78 games with Tampa Bay this season. Two years ago, he hit .307 with 22 homers, 80 RBIs and an .850 OPS for Washington.
Phillies catchers Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp have combined for a .713 OPS this season and the tandem leads the majors in strikeouts at the position with 147. They are also fourth in the majors with a combined 13 passed balls. Ramos will be an upgrade on both sides of the ball - when he gets on the field.
Ramos was a frequent opponent of the Phillies during his time with the Washington Nationals from 2010 to 2016. A knee injury suffered late in the 2016 season cost him significant dollars on the free-agent market that winter. He signed a two-year, $12.5 million deal with the Rays before the 2017 season. He will be a free agent after this season.
Ramos thanked the Rays for signing him after he'd been hurt. He was happy to go from a non-contending team to a first-place club. The Phillies entered play Thursday night a half-game up on Atlanta in the NL East.
"I'm excited to come to this team," Ramos said. "They're in first place and I am 100 percent sure that I can help this team win a lot of games."
Ramos will wear No. 40 with the Phillies, the same number he wore in Washington and Tampa Bay. Reliever Tommy Hunter, who had worn 40, switched to 96 so Ramos could have his favorite number.
Reliever Aaron Loup, acquired from Toronto on Tuesday, also joined the team Thursday. His addition gives the Phillies three left-handers in the bullpen. Austin Davis and Adam Morgan are the others.