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Wilson Ramos Is a Huge Difference-maker, But How Much Can Phillies Ride Him Down the Stretch?

TORONTO - Wilson Ramos' importance to the Phillies was on full display in Sunday's 8-3 win over the Blue Jays (see story).

The burly catcher had four hits, including a two-run homer, and three RBIs.

And he made a block and throw to third base for an out in the sixth inning that manager Gabe Kapler called a "game-changer."

Ramos is 12 for 25 with five doubles, a triple, a homer and eight RBIs in six games with his new club.

Clearly, the offense-challenged Phillies need him to play a lot over the final 32 games.

But just how often can he go to his post?

The Phillies acquired Ramos at the end of July while he was still on the disabled list nursing a left hamstring strain. The club is still watching that hammy - and the right one, as well. Ramos said that one has been tight, too.

On top of it all, he missed time last week with a sore wrist that stemmed from his being crossed-up on a pitch from Jake Arrieta.

After Sunday's win, Ramos said the wrist was fine.

But the 245-pound slab of granite admitted that his hamstrings need watching.

"I don't feel 100 percent, but I can play sore," he said. "For some reason, people call me the Buffalo. I've got that strength, so I play. I can play. I can support my team. I'm not ready to run 100 percent, but I can jog and play and that's very important to me. If I can do a really good job on offense, it's another good step.

"I want to play every day. I want to help my team make the playoffs. We're in a good spot right now to make the playoffs, but I understand if they want to give me two days per week off that's good because they want me to rest a little bit and get better. But I'll talk to (manager Gabe Kapler) and try to tell him I'm ready to play, I'm ready to work."

Kapler admitted that he was not certain how much he can ride Ramos the rest of the way.

"We're going to just check in with him every single day," Kapler said. "We'll ask him, ‘How are you doing? How is your body recovering?' Day games after a night game we're going to have to be careful with him.

"We'd love to ride him. We'd like to play him four times, five times a week if possible. A lot of that depends on how well he's recovering so we don't get overzealous and put him at risk in any way. Kind of like we did at the very beginning of the season, we're balancing winning today's baseball game with the long-term health and well being of our players. In this particular case with Ramos, it's balancing winning tomorrow with having him healthy through September and into October."

Kapler said he likes the "calming" effect that Ramos has had on the pitchers.

Rhys Hoskins likes the work that Ramos has done with the bat.

"The thing that impresses me the most is that every time he swings he seems to barrel the ball," Hoskins said. "He seems very selective at the plate. But when he decides to go, it's loud. You hit in the middle of the lineup like that and you hope for extra-base hits."

Ramos has given the Phillies a bunch of them in a short amount of time. 

And they need him to stay healthy so he can deliver more.

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