By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 7, 2007
CHICAGO, May 6 -- The Washington Nationals placed right-hander John Patterson on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with what the team is calling "right elbow biceps soreness," the latest setback in the star-crossed pitcher's injury-plagued career.
The move came after an MRI exam Sunday morning -- a day after Patterson came out of his start against the Chicago Cubs after facing three batters in the third inning -- revealed no structural damage, but did show fluid on his elbow. Patterson won't throw for a week, and the club will then reevaluate him and consider the next step. No specific timetable for a return was given, but Manager Manny Acta said, "We're talking about probably a month here, at least."
Patterson's injury provided one of two roster spots for returning starters Nook Logan, the center fielder, and Cristian Guzman, the shortstop. Both of those players suffered injuries -- Logan a strained foot, Guzman a strained hamstring -- on Opening Day, and Acta said they will be in the lineup Monday in Milwaukee.
Outfielder Michael Restovich, who was hitless in his last 19 at-bats and was hitting .143, was outrighted to Class AAA Columbus, opening the second roster spot.
Patterson, who had surgery to repair a nerve problem in his right elbow last July 20, had preseason goals to make 30 starts and pitch 200 innings. Those now appear in peril.
"I didn't want to spend one day on the DL this year," he said. "That was probably my number one goal coming into this season. But you know, there comes a point where you just have to do what you have to."
Patterson (1-5, 7.47 ERA) said the biceps muscle had tightened in several of his starts as he tried to rebuild arm strength.
"I pushed it as far as I could push it for as long as I could push it," he said. "For that, I'm happy with myself. I know that sounds really messed up, and you could write that really bad. But I really am. I did not feel good. I was hurting. I pushed myself as far as I can push myself."
Since Patterson's turn in the rotation falls on Thursday's off day, the Nationals won't need a replacement starter until May 15. By that point, right-hander Jerome Williams will be eligible to come off the disabled list, where he landed April 29 with a left ankle sprain.