Patterson Is Still Getting Up to Speed

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 13, 2007

BALTIMORE, June 12 -- When Washington Nationals right-hander John Patterson returns from the disabled list -- and there is no set timetable for such an event -- he might do so as a different pitcher. Patterson, who threw a bullpen session Tuesday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, said his velocity might not be fully restored by the time he returns, and he will have to deal with it.

"But I'll be pain-free and getting my innings in," Patterson said.

Patterson went 1-5 with a 7.47 ERA before going on the disabled list May 6 with elbow and biceps soreness brought on by a nerve problem. During those seven starts, he never reached his normal top levels of 93 mph with his fastball, and he attributed his flat breaking balls to the inability to generate velocity.

That experience, Patterson said, taught him how to handle the situation should it arise again.

"I can't get away with as many things," Patterson said. "When you have a little less velocity and a little less snap on your breaking stuff, you're not going to get away with a hanging slider or a fastball down the middle that I might normally be able to get away with."

Patterson is scheduled to make a rehabilitation start for Class A Potomac on Friday.

Character a Priority for Nats

General Manager Jim Bowden said that if the Nationals are to trade for any player, character will be considered. Bowden's comments came on the heels of a report from that Washington may be interested in troubled Tampa Bay outfielder Elijah Dukes.

"I think any transaction we make, we want to have good people here with high character in Washington representing our organization," Bowden said. "That's extremely important to us."

A judge granted Dukes's wife a one-year restraining order against him after he allegedly threatened her, including sending a photo of a gun via text message. The rookie is hitting .193 with 10 homers in 49 games.

Bowden would not address the Nationals' interest in specific players, but was speaking generally.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company