Ramirez shows progress defensively

Ramirez shows progress defensively

OAKLAND -- Max Ramirez is expected to be behind the plate on Wednesday when Colby Lewis pitches for the Rangers against the Athletics.

The question is whether this will be Ramirez's last start. On Friday, it will have been 10 days since the Rangers optioned catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Minor Leagues. That means he is eligible to be recalled to the Majors.

By all accounts, Saltalamacchia is ready to return, although the Rangers are non-committal on the possibility of that happening on Friday or anytime soon. He is pain-free in his upper back and shoulders, his throwing has been fine and he is swinging the bat well. He took a 10-game hitting streak into Tuesday's game. During that stretch he is 16-for-39 (.410) with three home runs and nine RBIs.

Ramirez, though, has played well in his short return to the big leagues. The biggest concern about him has been his ability to work with pitchers and call games. But the two starters that he's worked with since being called up were both highly complimentary of his work behind the plate.

Ramirez started last Thursday, with Scott Feldman on the mound, and again on Sunday with C.J. Wilson pitching.

"He was great," Wilson said. "I always felt Max had a good idea behind the plate. With me, he mixes his pitches well, with a good distribution of fastballs and breaking balls. I think Max got unfairly knocked for his defense, but he works well with me and communicates well with me."

Said Feldman, "He has really made an effort to learn to work with pitchers and get better at it. This was the first time I've worked with him since '08, and we were on the same page pretty good. As he's gotten older, and more experienced, he's become much better at calling pitches."