WASHINGTON—The 462 at-bats Caleb Ramsey had at low Class A Hagerstown represent only a small fraction of the work he puts in at the plate.
Ramsey, an 11th-round pick from Houston in 2011, had a solid season with the Suns before attending his second instructional league.
His work with Hagerstown hitting coach Mark Harris and minor league hitting coordinator Rick Schu helped him finish second in the South Atlantic League in triples (10), tied for eighth in hits (136) and ninth in runs (78).
"It's all about the work in the cage, the repetitions," said the lefthanded-hitting corner outfielder, who batted .294/.352/.420 for Hagerstown. "Most people don't realize how many swings you take in a day, in a week, and still not feel right."
He was happy to get more swings in instructional league this fall, especially after a staph infection hospitalized him for about a week last year.
Ramsey, 24, says much of his focus is on keeping his hips back and using his legs. He had 17 doubles and seven homers for the Suns and is working on being more consistent with his power. He drew 37 walks and struck out just 46 times.
"The coaches for the Nationals really stress having a two-strike approach," Ramsey said. "I shorten up my stride and choke up a bit. It's not a different swing, just a little shorter and quicker.
"A lot of guys give me grief when it works out, but I tell them those aren't 0-0 bleeders. They're 1-1 or 1-2 bleeders. I don't want to hear it."
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Ramsey went undrafted until his senior year of college, but he considered signing after a solid post-junior summer in the Cape Cod League, where he was his team's MVP of the all-star game at Fenway Park.
He opted to return to Houston, where he earned a supply chain management degree from the business school.
• The Dodgers hired Nationals special adviser Pat Corrales as a special assistant to the general manager. The 71-year-old Corrales earned praise for his work with Nationals minor leaguers, and he reunites in Los Angeles with Stan Kasten, who worked with Washington before going to the Dodgers.
• The Yankees returned Rule 5 draft pick Brad Meyers to the Nationals in late October after the righthander spent virtually all of 2012 on the disabled list with a labrum injury in his shoulder.