By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 19, 2006
The wait for John Patterson and the Washington Nationals could finally end Friday, when the right-hander is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list and pitch his first major league game since April 21.
Patterson, on the disabled list because of forearm tendinitis, threw his final rehabilitation start Saturday for Class A Potomac, and despite the fact that he gave up five runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings, he said, "My pitches felt good." General Manager Jim Bowden pronounced Patterson ready to go.
"He's a number one or number two starter, so it changes your team dramatically to have John healthy and in the rotation," Bowden said. "Obviously, it'll be a big boost to this ballclub."
Patterson went 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four April starts. He said he could easily throw between 75 and 90 pitches and give "six strong innings" upon his return.
"To jump up too quick might not be the right thing to do," he said. "But it's totally off of how I feel."
Patterson said the most significant hurdle when he gets back will be the pace of the game.
Patterson's return, not to mention off days Thursday and the following Monday, will shake up the Nationals' rotation. The immediate victim will be Tony Armas Jr., who will make his turn today in Boston, but then be pushed back from his next start. Instead, the Nationals will tentatively follow Patterson with Ramon Ortiz on Saturday and Livan Hernandez on Sunday in Baltimore.
Once the team gets through the cycle of off days, the ultimate decision will be which rookie -- either Mike O'Connor or Shawn Hill -- to remove from the rotation. Both have pitched well, and Manager Frank Robinson said if all things are equal, he'll likely keep the left-handed O'Connor.Majewski Still Struggling
Lost in the glare of yesterday's dramatic 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees was another shaky outing by primary setup man Gary Majewski, who entered a 1-1 game in the eighth and issued a leadoff walk to Melky Cabrera. Asked his reaction to the walk, Robinson said he couldn't comment with television cameras present. Cabrera scored on Alex Rodriguez's two-out double.
"It's very frustrating," Majewski said. "That sets up the whole inning."
Majewski has allowed a run in each of his last three outings and four out of five, lifting his ERA above 4.00. Robinson, though, said he was happy Majewski got the win.