Patterson Will Get One More Rehab Start

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Washington Nationals right-hander John Patterson, who hasn't pitched in the majors since April 21, will make one more rehabilitation start in the minors on Saturday for Class A Potomac, further delaying a return that has been put off time and again.

Patterson, on the disabled list with forearm tendinitis, threw 4 2/3 innings for Class AAA New Orleans on Monday night, and yesterday he said: "I felt good. I felt strong." But he will still start Saturday for Potomac so he can further build up his pitch count. He is scheduled to throw 90 pitches or six innings Saturday.

"Things are going well right now," Patterson said. "But one more start's probably the smart play, as much as I'd like to pitch Saturday" against the New York Yankees.

Patterson met with General Manager Jim Bowden yesterday afternoon and described the decision as a mutual one.

"We want him to make one more rehab start because he's not stretched out enough," Bowden said. "We think one more start would help. . . . We have two off days coming up, and we have five starting pitchers who are pitching extremely well."

The added rehab start would set Patterson's return for June 23 in Baltimore, Bowden said. Since he first experienced stiffness in his forearm in his final preseason start, the club has said Patterson, 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four starts, has never been in danger of further injury.

"Can he pitch with this right now? Yes," Bowden said on April 28, the day he was placed on the disabled list. "He can pitch. He could pitch every fifth day, no issues."

But Patterson said he is beyond most of the frustration of his slow return, though he added, "I'm getting anxious."

Flightless Byrd

Center fielder Marlon Byrd is in a 9-for-47 free fall since May 27, dropping his average to .229. Manager Frank Robinson said Byrd needs to overhaul his entire swing, but that's not practical during the season.

Byrd said he is making minor adjustments, lowering his hands "and just trying to take more consistent swings."

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