NEW YORK -- Aramis Ramirez gained some peace of mind when he stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter on Sunday. At least he could go into the offseason saying he was healthy.
He struck out in the Brewers' 3-2 loss to the Mets.
The steady Ramirez saw his season ruined by a sprained left knee. When he was hurt sliding into second base for a Spring Training double against the Angels in March, Ramirez was hopeful he'd have the injury behind him by Opening Day.
Instead, he was limited to batting .283 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs in 92 games, his lowest number of games since his 2009 season was shortened by a shoulder injury while with the Cubs.
After re-injuring the knee during a scuffle with the Braves on Wednesday, Ramirez told manager Ron Roenicke he wanted at least one more at-bat. He singled as a pinch-hitter on Saturday night against the Mets.
"I told him I wanted to do it before I went home," Ramirez said. "It's been tough for me and for the team. Even though we're playing pretty good lately, the goal was to be in the race."
Ramirez believes the Brewers "are not that far away" from returning to contention, even in a tough National League Central that is sending three teams to the postseason. Ramirez, who will earn $16 million next season in the final year of his contract, could be a significant part of a comeback.
"Aramis is big coming into next year," Roenicke said. "We saw when he was healthy last year, what he did for us. We saw when he wasn't healthy this year, and what happened."