Simontacchi To Make First Start Since '03

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

MILWAUKEE, May 7 -- The last time Jason Simontacchi appeared in a major league game, he threw two pitches to Milwaukee Brewers infielder Keith Ginter, inducing a groundball out in the top of the ninth inning of a 5-1 loss for the St. Louis Cardinals. That was Oct. 2, 2004.

On Tuesday, Simontacchi will face the Brewers again, but this time as a Washington National, and this time as a starting pitcher. The Nationals said Monday that they expect to select his contract from Class AAA Columbus, and Simontacchi said in a telephone interview Monday that he was scheduled to fly to Milwaukee later Monday night. He will be added to the 40-man roster in time to pitch Tuesday, his first start in the majors since Sept. 2, 2003.

"I'm elated," he said. "I'm happy. I'm excited. But I just want to get it under my belt so I can be back instead of just thinking about being back."

Simontacchi essentially made the Nationals' rotation in spring training, but he came down with a strained groin late in the spring. He remained in Viera, Fla., taking care of the injury, then went to Columbus to make two starts for the Clippers. The results were mixed -- 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA, 17 hits in 10 2/3 innings. But Simontacchi said he felt good.

"The groin feels fine," he said. "I don't think about it at all. I think my location has gotten better while I was here, and there's no question we did everything right with the way we handled this. I'm psyched up."

Since his last major league appearance, Simontacchi underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He made a comeback with Bridgeport of the independent Atlantic League and was signed by the Nationals this offseason.

Elbow Under Examination

Right-hander John Patterson, placed on the disabled list Sunday with soreness in his right elbow and biceps, traveled back to Washington on Monday night so he could see team orthopedist Ben Shaffer. Patterson was to have the MRI exam of his right elbow examined by a radiologist as well. . . .

Right-hander Jerome Williams, on the disabled list with a sprained ankle, likely will make a rehabilitation start this week.

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