Patterson Struggles in Rehab Start

By Steve Yanda and Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, June 16, 2007

FREDERICK, Md., June 15 -- John Patterson used a variety of deliveries from the stretch and the windup during his rehab start Friday night in an attempt to rediscover the motion that would provide the best timing for his pitches.

That motion had been on hold since May 6, when Patterson was placed on the disabled list, so the timing, and the results still are a bit off. Patterson threw 45 pitches (22 strikes) in 2 1/3 innings for Class A Potomac against Frederick, allowing three earned runs, three hits and three walks. He registered one strikeout.

After the outing, Patterson reported no soreness in his right arm and said he was pleased that he did not feel fatigued on the mound. "Now I have to work on getting my mechanics more consistent, and I'll be where I want to be."

Hampered by elbow and biceps soreness in his right arm that stemmed from a nerve problem, Patterson went 1-5 with a 7.47 ERA in seven starts before heading to the disabled list. After more than a month of rest and rehab, the pitcher said his previous injuries are not affecting his confidence on the mound.

Scheduled to throw three innings or 50 pitches, Patterson met neither goal. He labored through a first inning in which he walked two batters and gave up a two-run homer with one out in the third.

"When I'm throwing it wrong, I'm throwing it really wrong," he said. "But when I'm throwing it right, it's right."

Patterson joined a group of Nationals pitchers making rehab stints Friday night. Jason Bergmann started at Class AAA Columbus, and Mike O'Connor, who has not pitched yet this season in the majors after undergoing minor elbow surgery this past offseason, made the start for Class AA Harrisburg. Jerome Williams relieved O'Connor.

"I'm looking forward to the end of the night to see the results and how the guys ended up doing, how they feel after it," Nationals Manager Manny Acta said before Washington's game at Toronto. "But most importantly tomorrow, to see how they bounce back after the rehab start."

Pitching at Ottawa after being out with right elbow inflammation, Bergmann threw three innings, giving up two hits and no walks. He had one strikeout and faced only one man over the minimum in a 31-pitch performance.

Southpaw O'Connor made his second rehabilitation start and threw four innings of one-run ball against Binghamton. He allowed five hits, one walk and a solo homer while striking out four. Williams, who was out with a sore right shoulder, followed O'Connor and pitched three innings, allowing two hits and two runs, though neither was earned. He struck out three and walked none.

"Some of them we're shooting to probably have up here by the end of the month," Acta said. "We'll see. Like I said, it all depends how they feel after the first start."

Patterson said he would throw a bullpen session Sunday and make his second rehab start for Harrisburg on Wednesday with five innings or 75 pitches as his limit.

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