Max Ramirez entered this season with high expectations, hoping to build on his outstanding 2008 campaign and spend most of his season in the Major Leagues.
Almost two-thirds of the way through the minor league regular season, it hasn't gone according to plan.
Ramirez began his '08 season by hitting .354 with 17 home runs in 60 games at Double-A Frisco, earning him a call-up to the Majors, where he was 10-for-46 [.217] with two home runs for the Rangers.
After the season, the catcher went back to his native Venezuela to play winterball. Playing his first year of winterball, Ramirez was dominant with the bat, batting .298 with 15 homers and 53 RBIs in just 50 games.
"The manager was Carlos Subero," Ramirez said. "I worked with him in 2007 with Bakersfield, in High-A. He gave me a good chance to play, and I put up good numbers there. It was a good experience, to play with a lot of big leaguers."
Unfortunately, Ramirez was unable to finish out his winterball season, as he injured his wrist in late-December. The 24-year-old missed the beginning of Spring Training because he began feeling pain in both of his wrists.
"In the beginning of the season, I was feeling pain in both of my wrists," he said. "I got a shot in Venezuela, in winterball. And in February too, in Spring Training. I know I started the season a little slow."
The wrist problems have hurt Ramirez offensively all season long. Through 56 games, Ramirez is batting just .238 with 11 doubles and three home runs—almost completely eliminating his power.
"When your wrists have pain," Ramirez said, "you can't swing at 100 percent."
Despite the injury, Ramirez fought through most of the first half, not wanting to lose any time on the field. But he has been resting and rehabbing at the Rangers' minor league complex in Arizona ever since June 30.
Because Ramirez has battled right-wrist soreness and left-wrist tendinitis, it may be for the best to write this season off and not completely hold it against him. Many Rangers fans will remember what a nagging wrist injury did to ultra-talented first baseman Adrian Gonzalez—he hit just five home runs while playing a full season in 2003.
Ramirez's return to the Triple-A Oklahoma City lineup is likely to come in the very near future, but it may be unrealistic to expect him to play at 100 percent at all this season.
Regardless of health, Ramirez just wants to finish his season on more positive note.
"I just want to come back, get my average back, and get the power back," he said. "I only have three home runs. I'm just trying to come back and put up good numbers."
Ramirez battling two wrist injuries
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