Patterson Lets It Loose On Comeback

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 3, 2007

Washington Nationals right-hander John Patterson, who hasn't pitched in the majors since May 5 and who left a month ago to seek alternative treatments for his ailing elbow in Canada, delivered a terse but confident statement about his progress yesterday, saying he would pitch in the majors in September.

"I really just have one comment," Patterson told a group of reporters in the clubhouse at RFK Stadium. "And the comment is basically that I feel good. I feel great. It's the best I've felt in about two years, and the treatment was a success. I have a throwing program that I'm following, and that's the only comment I have."

Asked if he would pitch again this season, Patterson said: "That's . . . yeah. That's all I have to say."

Patterson has battled two different nerve problems in his right elbow since last year. In seven starts this year, he was 1-5 with a 7.47 ERA and never found the velocity on his fastball. In June, he went on a cross-country trek to visit specialists and obtain as much information about his elbow as he could, and last month he left for a Toronto suburb, where he was to undergo a series of treatments that involved spending time in a hyperbaric chamber.

Manager Manny Acta said he noticed a difference in Patterson upon his return. "He's in good spirits," Acta said.

General Manager Jim Bowden said Patterson would head to the team's complex in Viera, Fla., "within the next week" to continue his throwing program, and Bowden said he expected Patterson to pitch in September.

"We want a healthy John Patterson on the mound," Bowden said. "The good news is that he's making progress medically."

Bowden also defended his Opening Day starter, who has come under some scrutiny in his own clubhouse and in the media because of his inability to overcome the injuries.

"When you're a player and you're hurt, it's not your fault, and you tend to be criticized by the media and by fans and people questioning," Bowden said. "Well, you can't help it when you're physically unable to perform. And certainly he'd like to do his talking about pitching."

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