Patterson Opts For Surgery, Ending Season

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 1, 2007

Washington Nationals right-hander John Patterson, whose season has been limited to seven starts because of a bizarre series of nerve ailments in his right arm, will have surgery to decompress the radial nerve in that arm. Patterson will not pitch again this season, but both he and General Manager Jim Bowden said, barring further complications, he should be healthy by spring training.

"I've tried everything that I can try to not have surgery," Patterson said yesterday. "My mind's at ease as far as that goes, and that's what I was trying to do is to just explore every option that I could possibly explore to not have another surgery."

Patterson last pitched in a game on May 5, but he said that the last time he felt good was March 8, when he faced a group of Nationals minor leaguers in a spring training tuneup.

"The next day, it started bothering me," he said. From that point forward, Patterson had trouble regaining his velocity, and he said yesterday that the resulting pain from his nerve problems -- which affected both his forearm and his upper arms -- was "the worst pain you can imagine."

Still, Patterson wanted to avoid surgery, to the point that he sought treatment in suburban Toronto. That treatment, he said, relieved pain and tightness in his forearm. But the pain in his upper arm -- where he said he has scar tissue constricting the radial nerve between his triceps and brachial muscle -- never subsided.

Bowden and Patterson, along with Patterson's agents, Alan and Randy Hendricks, are looking for a doctor to perform the surgery in the next week to 10 days. "I need a specialist for a special problem," he said.

Chico, Abreu Get the Call

With rosters expanding today, the Nationals called up left-hander Matt Chico and right-hander Winston Abreu from Class AAA Columbus last night. Chico, who made 25 starts for the Nationals before being demoted last month, will start tomorrow's series finale against the San Francisco Giants, replacing Mike Bacsik.

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