Nationals rookie Jason Bergmann notched his first major league win Tuesday. Yet his enjoyment was tempered by the fact that most of his belongings remained in his New Orleans apartment, likely underwater, "probably gone forever," he said.
New Orleans, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, is home to the Nationals' Class AAA affiliate, the Zephyrs. Before being recalled over the weekend, Bergmann spent more than two months there. He and his girlfriend rented a first-floor apartment. The Nationals called up Bergmann on Sunday, the day before Katrina barreled through the city.
"We could get no word out," Bergmann said. "There was no way to contact anybody. They totally evacuated the area. The rent's due [Thursday]. I don't think I'm going to have to pay it."
Bergmann said most of his important belongings -- his nicer clothes, his baseball gear -- were with him, though some personal items such as pictures and baseball cards are likely lost forever. Still, he understands his good fortune.
"You have to put it in perspective," he said. "I got called up out of the hurricane, but some people didn't get out, and that's who my thoughts are with right now."
Right-hander John Patterson, who left Tuesday's 3-2 victory over Atlanta after just 22/3 innings with stomach cramps, said he felt "a little better" Wednesday. Because he threw just 61 pitches, he and pitching coach Randy St. Claire said he will start Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies. . . .
The Zephyrs cancelled three home games over the weekend in preparation for Katrina, and had their final nine games scheduled for the road. Infielder Rick Short, who flirted with hitting .400, entered Wednesday's play at .388. He could be called up to help the major league team, perhaps after the Zephyrs' season ends Sept. 5. . . .
The Nationals arrived in the clubhouse to red T-shirts bearing pinch hitter Carlos Baerga's picture with the saying, "Carlito's Way." The T-shirts, courtesy of infielder Jamey Carroll, have 10 of Baerga's best sayings, heard often in the dugout, on the back, including "Let's kill somebody" and "Let's hit for an hour."
"They realize I'm a joker," Baerga said. "I'm the guy that's going to keep everybody alive."