Patterson Remains On Track For Opener

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 26, 2007

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 25 -- John Patterson described the episode in which he nearly passed out after a routine workout Saturday morning as "weird," but said Sunday he didn't believe it would affect his ability to make his Opening Day start for the Washington Nationals.

"I'd kind of gotten that feeling before," Patterson said. "But yesterday, it was pretty strange. I turned pale white. Everything was spinning."

Patterson said he had a normal morning eating waffles, but became dizzy when he went out to stretch with his teammates. Taking bunting practice, "I was seeing a couple of balls." He returned to the clubhouse with the intention of sitting down and clearing his head.

"I thought, 'If I sit down, I'm not getting back up,' " he said. "I went down to the training room, and I laid down. I told them, 'Look, there's something wrong.' "

Patterson said the care he received, including getting three bags of fluids intravenously, "couldn't have been better." The club continued to believe the condition was brought on by dehydration, and he is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday and make his final spring start Wednesday.

Patterson also said he has had an irregular heartbeat his whole life.

"It'll pump real hard like four or five times, and all this blood will rush to my head," he said. "And then it flat lines, and kicks in again. It never happens when I'm pitching or working out, and I'm sure it didn't have anything to do with this."

Redding to Columbus

Included in the Nationals' slew of moves was the demotion of right-hander Tim Redding, who was outrighted to Class AAA Columbus. Redding, considered a leading candidate to crack the rotation when camp opened, posted an 11.42 ERA in four Grapefruit League outings. He cleared waivers and will accept the assignment. Right-hander Joel Hanrahan also was optioned to Columbus.

One winner after Sunday's transactions was infielder Josh Wilson, who essentially won a spot on the team when D'Angelo Jimenez was reassigned to minor league camp. Wilson is hitting .366 this spring. Jimenez hit .278 but also committed a team-high five errors.

Catcher Juan Brito, infielder Joe Thurston and left-hander Mike Bacsik also were reassigned to minor league camp. And to make room on the 40-man roster, right-hander Jermaine Van Buren and lefty Billy Traber -- previously optioned to Columbus -- also cleared waivers.

Pitcher of the Day Rookie left-hander Matt Chico was hammered for 10 hits and five earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in a 6-0 loss to Atlanta. "I told you he was going to have days like this," Acta said. Chico said he relied too much on his fastball. Up Next vs. Detroit at Lakeland, 1 p.m.

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