By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 24, 2006; E09
John Patterson's arm is still in a sling, and he hasn't yet seen the S-shaped slice in his arm, though he has watched a video of the procedure. Now, all that is left for the Washington Nationals' right-hander is to wait for his forearm to heal from Thursday's surgery, and then decide whether he'll pitch again this season.
"I would like to," Patterson said before yesterday's 7-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs. "It's not the highest priority right now. It's not something I want to rush or put stress on myself about."
Patterson, 28, had surgery that took a sinewy tissue called the lacertus fibrosis away from the median nerve, which extends down the arm. The pressure, according to team orthopedist Ben Shaffer, was causing Patterson discomfort. "They were very weird, very atypical symptoms," Shaffer said.
Officially, the Nationals said Patterson would be out four to six weeks, which could make him available for September. Patterson, who has pitched in just eight games this season, said he will give the matter serious thought before returning to the mound.
"My goal right now is to be ready in spring training, to be 100 percent, to be healthy," he said. "There is a possibility that I could throw this year, but it's not something I'm going to rush. I'm going to go through it and be as smart as I can about the whole process."Bowden to Add Top Assistant
The Nationals could announce this week that they are bringing in Mike Rizzo, the Arizona Diamondbacks' scouting director, as the top assistant to General Manager Jim Bowden, two major league sources said. Nationals President Stan Kasten said the team would not comment until it had an official announcement.
Rizzo has scouted and signed some of the top players in Arizona's system, such as right-hander Brandon Webb. He is a holdover from the regime of former GM Joe Garagiola Jr.
Rizzo's title is unclear, but it seems unlikely that he would serve as a replacement for current scouting director Dana Brown, whose last three first-round draft picks -- Chad Cordero, Bill Bray and Ryan Zimmerman -- are all in the majors. Bowden has consistently praised Brown, particularly in his evaluations of pitchers. . . .
Ryan Church made his first start since returning from Class AAA New Orleans and hit a homer into the upper deck in right field. "I'm just so fired-up to be back," Church said. "I'm just waiting for a wall to run into. I can't sit down or calm down."