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John Patterson update

So John Patterson was in the clubhouse today. Patterson is obviously well-versed in talking about injuries, and he is usually very accomodating in explaining what he's going through and what sort of treatments he's receiving.

But in his first appearance at RFK since he left for some creative treatments outside Toronto -- treatments not yet approved in the U.S. -- Patterson was, shall we say, short with the media.

"I really just have one comment," he said, "and the comment is basically that I feel good. I feel great. It's the best I 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."

Bill Ladson from asked: Will you pitch again this year?: "That's ... yeah. That's all I have to say."

When Patterson started to walk away, I asked, "How come?" He did not respond.

This is a very interesting guy. I've thought that from almost the day I met him. And this is obviously a frustrating situation for him.

GM Jim Bowden said Patterson will head to Viera, Fla., to continue a throwing program "within the next week." Here's more from Bowden:

"We expect him to pitch here in Setpember. We want a healthy John Patterson on the mound. The good news is that he's making progress medically. He threw pain-free today."

I told Bowden that Patterson had just been short with the media, which is unusual, and asked if he thought it was from frustration over people questioning him. Bowden's answer:

"Sure, because it's not your fault. 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 - well you can't help it when you're physically unable to perform. And certainly he'd like to do his talking about pitching."

So we'll see how this goes. But it adds a wrinkle to our "Guess the Rotation" poll for Sept. 1, no?

Just ran into Hank Thomas and his mother, Carolyln, who is the daughter of Walter Johnson. It is, if you recall, Walter Johnson Day here at RFK, and the two of them are down there on the field right now with Mark Lerner. Hank is going to throw out the first pitch, and the Nationals are wearing replica hats from the 1927 Senators, Johnson's last year with the team.

They're starting the video tribute to Walter Johnson right now, and they're playing the music from "The Natural."

By Barry Svrluga  |  August 2, 2007; 6:40 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Thursday lineups
Next: Zimmerman's glove


I am feeling bad...

I haven't been picking on Patterson... but I sure have been hard on Alex Escobar.

I am speaking for myself, but I suspect that there are a ton of people out there who want nothing more for JP (and for the Nats, and themselves, because we all want to take ownership of the team, in a "Hey, that's my team" kind of way) than to have the early 2005 JP back, only better.

Perhaps we should give him some credit for thinking outside the box and getting a solution when the Conventional Wisdom (and conventional medicine) were letting him down.

Consider me chastized.

Posted by: Wigi | August 2, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Those Senators caps look sharp...

Posted by: Wigi | August 2, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Do mine eyes deceive me?!?

Has Tolman the Twit done it AGAIN?!?

... Or was Flippie just not running fast enough?

Posted by: Juan-John | August 2, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

The answer, Juan-John, is Yes. Flippie slowed down, largely because he knew there was no reason to go home when he's on third with nobody out. I can't believe I just wrote that sentence, since it's so obvious. I also can't believe Tolman doesn't know that and that he did it again! I really wonder if he's going to make it through the year at 3rd base.

Posted by: GEVA | August 2, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Yea ... those Senators caps look very sharp!

And Tolman, that's your third strike. You're out. You've been added to my FTG list.

But on patterson, I can't be down on him for getting injured. I just can't understand why pitchers these days are so fragile. I commend him for doing everything within his power to get back on the hill and throw a major league baseball again. He's ostensibly doing that for us, the fans (and his paycheck).


Posted by: i hate walks | August 2, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

On Tolman: I need to backpedal a bit. One mistake in the past week was for sending the runner, one mistake was for not sending the runner. Tonight's mistake could be called aggressive baserunning. An on-the-money throw from centerfield caused the out, not an errant call. In the 4th a similar play resulted in a run because the throw wasn't on the mark. But with 0 outs, no score, and the first inning, I actually appreciate the aggressive running.

Posted by: i hate walks | August 2, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: i hate walks | August 2, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Greg | August 2, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

and for tonight...a BLOCK W is in the book. answer to jumble was of course, you all knew it...sweep

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 2, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the desire to give Tolman the (multiple) benefits of doubt, but he's in as bad a slump as I've ever seen a thirdbase coach be in. If the house was burning, he'd run in. If the lions were in the front yard he'd run out. No matter what decision he makes its wrong. His sending of Lopez was a bad decision made worse by Lopez looking hesitant (like "I can't believe he's sending me). Last year's model, Tony Beasley (name correct?) was remarkably error free as 3B coach. Tolmam may be a good coach, but he's not a good 3B coach. At least not right now.

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 2, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps we will see a new 3b coach with the september call ups...yuk yuk. Might as well laugh, at least the Nats won the game. Wins mask a lot of things, but?

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 2, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest regarding Patterson. Many fans, and perhaps some of the reporters covering the team, think Patterson has an issue besides real injury. His trip to Canada was ridiculed as a "magical mystery tour", was it not? And he suffers a relentless pounding on message boards across the spectrum of Nats fandom. it should be no surprise he's sore.

While on the subject of sore, regarding Alex Escobar, a short unattributed Post piece was published (yesterday?) discussing his attempted recovery from a separated right shoulder.

Now, at various times and in various media, it has been reported that he had a dislocated shoulder, or a separated shoulder, sometimes by the same reporter. While the media often treat these terms interchangably, they are NOT the same injury. Having had 3 dislocations myself, I would opt for the separated variety every time if I had the chance. Now which one did Alex have? I queried Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus on the subject just this past week. He covers injuries for BP, seems to be an authority on the subject of players' injuries. He confirmed that Escobar in fact suffered a dislocation, not separation. A dislocation is devastating injury, and since it occured in his throwing shoulder, his ultimate succesful recovery is questionable.

Carroll did provide one example of a player who had come back from a dislocation to his throwing shoulder - JJ Hardy.

Posted by: tomterp | August 2, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Check out the link (below) to the Bog that natsfan1a posted earlier. I seriously smell a rivalry brewing folks. O's truck, SchmO's truck. That's nothin' on Philly's [RF]ing nerve.


In other news from the same link, it would seem that there are some very twisted (pathological, perhaps) Phillies fans out there.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 2, 2007 05:43 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | August 2, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Fun on Big Train Night. Sectionmate Mark Hornbaker, who claims not to be a writer, nonetheless did a nice piece on Johnson in NationalsPride earlier this week. He brought along some Big Train T-shirts tonight, which you might have seen peppering 428.

Mark's tributes earned us a visit from Stan, who only had to endure a wee bit of goading re the plan -- or The Plan, depending on your point of view.

Also got a scorebook autograph from Bob Carpenter tonight. Memo to self: Bring a couple extra Sharpies to the park henceforth. (I was able to produce a Bic to save the day.)

These Ryans are getting scary good. And Bacsik performs with guts and guile, fanning six and walking none. Shall we agree not to write him out of the script *just* yet?

Hmm, while we're at it, let's trot out a Nats Journal T-shirt slogan and throw around a little DC attitude, huh?

Washington Nationals,
Sweeping the Cincians,
Bring the fans cheer,

Adding up victories
We got your hundred-loss
Season right HERE!

Oh you Nats!

Posted by: Hendo | August 2, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Consider me chastised too about JP, Wigi. I been trash talking him since spring training. Go on out there Patty and rub it in my face. I'll gladly look up that crow recipe and gobble it down.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 2, 2007 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, my man, that's your best one yet!


We got your hundred-loss
Season right HERE!

Posted by: Hendo | August 2, 2007 10:59 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | August 2, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Hi Y'all,

... just back from the pub after the rink. Man I was frustrated on the ice tonight, but on my return home, what do I find? A sweep!! Yeah!! Move on to the living room, Mama. The kitchen's all clean.

... this is the team I knew we had. If this is dreaming, don't wake me up. I'd rather have success in dreamland, than be brought back to reality in the wake-up world.

... thank you for everything you guys have done lately. Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 2, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

... I hope that if Johnny P. doesn't make a successful return to big-league life, people won't point fingers at the Canadian treatments and say "I told ya'." If he doesn't respond, he doesn't respond. But it ain't our fault. (Canucks, that is.)

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 2, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Natscan, what position(s) do you play? The Caps are looking close to fielding a competitive crew this season; yours might be the piece that makes the difference.

And no scoffs about the effects of Anno Domini, please. If Gordie Howe could do it, you can.

(Sorry for the diversion, but gotta have something to look forward to, come the long, cold offseason.)

Posted by: Hendo | August 2, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone really think that throughout his entire baseball loving life, John Patterson hasn't had serious questions about a player's injury and whether that player would ever come back again?

Forgive me for bringing it up, but it's like in American politics, when Tim Johnson had a stroke and the fate of the Senate hung in the balance. People said that it was disrespectful to talk about the balance of power. Are you kidding? The man is a career politician, his entire life was devoted to politics and he sure would care about the balance of power.

Same is true of Patterson. He's a career ballplayer and you can be sure a major injury is something that is on his mind for both him and for other players. None of the speculation or questioning has been wrong and I think Patterson must know that it comes with the job.

But I would extend my deepest sympathies to him, because while it's the nature of the game, I believe it has to wear you down and there's nothing wrong with wanting to get away from it for a little bit and not being able to answer questions. Like Schneider losing his temper last year, sometimes humans just can't be on their A game.

So JP, know that I'm going to keep asking questions about your return and that I am skeptical about whether you can ever be "Nasty" again. But know that I respect you for what you did, what you are doing now, and whatever you will do and I hope that last one includes the start on opening day in 2008. It's just all part of the game, and you are playing it right.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 2, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

So, the Reds came a callin, there record is a fallin, with the nats on the rise, the limit is the skies. And now LaRussa brings his cards who we'll have to deal, a weekend of W W W would produce a nice feel. Then its on to San Fran, for 3 in a row, to deny steroid man, his record in the show. GO NATS...STAY HOT

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 2, 2007 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Woof. SC Nats Fan, that's what I'm talkin' about.

Posted by: Hendo | August 2, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Nice one SC!

So, a gorgeous night at RFK tonight! I have to say, every time they showed Walter Johnson's stats on the board, with The Natural music playing, just made me tip my hat to this guy. Ironically the new post about JP came up on a night to celebrate a guy who pitched more complete games than anyone in history, and nearly 1/8th of his starts were SHUTOUTS.

One stat that came up was one 9-day streak where he pitched 5 wins and 3 were complete game shutouts. Amazing.

RE: the game, our boys brought their bats tonight! Bacsik helped himself out with a nice double, and the Nats got the lead guy on base at least five innings. Sure was a nice show.

Belliard hit the ball hard every time tonight, even a couple foul ball shots when he walked. He's in a groove.

And, with our two rookie starts last week, it was okay sitting in the stands to see another team put a pitcher in for his MLB debut, and to knock him silly.

So, why can't we play the Reds 15-17 times a year? Instead we have the tough NL East and the hatin' Phillie Phaithphul. I hate Philly phans - no respect, just looking for something to put down. Sad. Anyway, a nice night to bring out the brooms (not allowed in the stadium)!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 2, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

So, I just checked out Ladson's game wrap, and had to chuckle a bit at this paragraph:

"In just two starts, Lannan has already faced superstars Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Ken Griffey Jr. They are a combined 2-for-7 against the left-hander. "

Methinks: "Lannon has as many hits on them as they do on him!"

If it wasn't for the Philly mob calling for Lannan's head, I would think it was funnier...

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 2, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

sory meant to say "phunnier"

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 2, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Tolman probably erred in sending Felipe, but his base running was just inexcusable: he slowed down going into third, slowed down two-thirds of the way down the third base line to look for the ball, and then trotted home at a leisurely pace after that.

Contrast that with Belliard, who scored twice from second on singles with ease because he was running all out.

I've just about had it with Felipe's laziness. There's no excuse for not running full speed on the bases.

Posted by: joebleux | August 2, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Natscan remarks: "I hope that if Johnny P. doesn't make a successful return to big-league life, people won't point fingers at the Canadian treatments and say 'I told ya'.'"

I hope JP gets back in the saddle to mow down some batters as of old. If not, the only risk that I *might* point a finger would depend on how well the Canadian program is documented.

While my bandwidth is hilariously limited just now, I might try at some point (it may well be in the offseason) to do a spot of research on this through the medical literature databases I have access to. I wouldn't mind seeing Will Carroll take a whack at this as well, if he hasn't already -- come to think of it, my first research (not necessarily as a primary source, but as a fount of cutting-edge reporting) may well be at Baseball Prospectus.

I expect that our man Barry and others at the Post might find this topic of interest as well.

The shame would be if the Canadian program were not reported in the literature at all. I don't care for the relative secretiveness with which kinesiologist, pitching coach and ex-Dodger lights-out closer (and ex-'Spo) Dr. Mike Marshall practices his craft in Florida, and would hate for it to be reprised north of the 49th or anywhere else.

Posted by: Hendo | August 3, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Hendo and SC ... you both: props for your poetry!

Posted by: i hate walks | August 3, 2007 6:55 AM | Report abuse

SC, you totally called it, and there was no whammy involved. Whew! I haven't caught up to all the postings yet but loved the poetic waxing by you and Hendo.

I'm heading out for my family reunion now and will be away from the Internet for the most part for several days. I look forward to reading many gleeful posting in re. the decking of the Cards then. Also, don't type anything I wouldn't type and have fun!


and for tonight...a BLOCK W is in the book. answer to jumble was of course, you all knew it...sweep

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 3, 2007 7:39 AM | Report abuse


That's another E1A if you're scoring along at home.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 3, 2007 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Hi Hendo,

... and any others of you who might be interested. I play left wing, and have for more than thirty years. About two years ago, I stopped playing hockey to pursue theological training and a period of discernment leading to ordination. It wasn't to be, so I am now continuing in my 'day job' until retirement comes in another two or three years.

... so that's when and why I decided to lace 'em up again this spring. In the summer we play pick-up hockey - i.e. no refs or whistles, just up and down the ice. But in the fall, I will rejoin my old-timers team for the regular schedule. Our team is the RCAF Senior Props, called so because when it was started, it was sponsored by the local Canadian Air Force Association. We play in a league of men aged 45+, and while the speed isn't up there with the young guys, our skill and intensity takes a back seat to no one.

... while I'm at it #1: I have just about given up on the NHL. Yesterday they made another 'business over the game' decision, when they granted Boots Del Baggio the rights to the Nashville team rather than follow thru with the Canadian Balsillie. He's the guy who invented and still markets the BlackBerry. Del Baggio will keep the team in Tennessee filling half a rink each night, whereas Jim B. would have moved the franchise to Hamilton, Ontario where people had already lined up for season tickets, even before the sale was finalized. I could go on, but this is a WashNats blog.

... while I'm at it #2: I want you all to know how moved I am that you want me to join you at RFK on 9/23. You can't know how much I would love to do that, but my current lifestyle and circumstances have the final say. It simply won't be a possibility, but maybe I can get onto MLB's TV package by then and see if I can find y'all during the crowd shots. And I'll send a photo along so you can PhotoShop me into the group.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 3, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

I know our bullpen is one of the best in baseball (even on the road), but it sure would be nice if our starters would condition themselves to go 7 innings instead of 6. Have we even come close to a complete game this year? I think there were a couple close ones early on, but I'm thinking there has not been a single complete game. Anyone willing to do the research for me? And while you're at it: Is there any other team in baseball that has not had a complete game this year? Thank you in advance, if you help me out here.

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 3, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

NatBisquit, I was thinking about this last night. I don't think Acta would let a starter stay in that long. Even if he was holding his own on the hill, Manny would sub in a stronger bat for the late innings. The good thing about this is that he can with our awesome bullpen.

Manny doesn't strike me as one to be sentimental in making such decisions.

Posted by: i hate walks | August 3, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of no complete games, Manny makes those decisions not the pitcher. I love but hasn't he's been a little quick on the draw pulling starting pitchers a few times this year?

Maybe it's because the bullpen in general has been so good. I don't really care if we have any complete games, I care if we win. I think complete games are over rated. I bet Manny does too.

I do dislike pitch counts though. Sutton says that a Manager should just watch how the pitcher is throwing and go off that. The problem is that if a Manager ignores pitch count and they get high and then a pitcher has an injury, people will blame the manager for the injury which isn't fair but it's reality. Wonder how much that is a factor.

People are talking about the pitchers at Vermont and rightly so but why isn't anyone talking their 1B Rhinehart, he's having a great season (.326, .863 OPS, 31 RBIs in 40 games) and could be the long-term answer there when/if Johnson/Young slow down in a couple of years. Hope to see him at Potomac next season, maybe Harrisburg.

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | August 3, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse


Truly first class stuff. You are the minstrel to the Nats. Were I you, I would keep this gems together and put them in book form as a daily chronology of the Nats.

I would title this one: "On the Occasion of the Nats Sweeping the Reds (August 3, 2007)."

Oh you Nats!

Posted by: C'ville Nat | August 3, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I followed the link re Philly and Lannan, and Chase Utley certainly gets props for a nice sense of humor - to paraphrase, the best that can happen is that he gets back in less than a month, the worst is that his hand falls off!

Posted by: Traveler | August 3, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Hendo commented: "I wouldn't mind seeing Will Carroll take a whack at this as well, if he hasn't already -- come to think of it, my first research (not necessarily as a primary source, but as a fount of cutting-edge reporting) may well be at Baseball Prospectus."

Here is an excerpt from Will Carroll's "Under the Knife" column of July 3, which is to your point:

"I was e-mailing with Rick Wilton from Baseball HQ and Fantasy Hot Sheet about some things, and we ended up discussing Huston Street. Street's recovery is going well after a visit to Toronto (though with Duchscherer's setback, we're reminded that any rehab can quickly go from good to bad). I won't go into the details of what Dr. Anthony Galea's unconventional but comprehensive therapy entails, because that's a whole article in itself, but I mentioned to Rick that if it worked for Street, Galea would probably see more patients. I'm not usually psychic, so it surprised me that after seeing four top physicians, the Nats' John Patterson headed north to see Dr. Galea. One of the myths of his treatments is that it's not legal in the US. In fact, it's legal and available. Even Galea's use of prolotherapy isn't unheard of, just controversial. In fact, there are team physicians in baseball that have used or at least considered use of this technique with players today. Being a bit odd isn't bad, and Galea's stance outside the medical mainstream shouldn't be considered a positive or negative until we have a better understanding of how his techniques work, and the results they garner. Suffice to say that not only am I watching, but we're trying to get an interview with Dr. Galea on BP Radio."

Posted by: tomterp | August 3, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Why, thank you, C'ville, and all.

Re complete games: Bergmann almost went the route on May 14, delivering 8.0 before going down for six weeks.

I'm thinking Manny may be just a little snakebit. Can't say as I blame him. I was OK with leaving Bergy in then, am a little less so now, but judgment *solely* on results is flawed.

What's needed is to update assumptions, or in the case of those of us gathered around the A/C, suspicions. My suspicion is that faster workers can pitch longer and stay healthy. Think Livo.

Think Bacsik, too. That said, I'm with mlwagnercpa; if we've able arms in the pen, why risk torching the rotation?

Posted by: Hendo | August 3, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

"Think Bacsik, too. That said, I'm with mlwagnercpa; if we've able arms in the pen, why risk torching the rotation?"

I totally agree with this sentiment, though it's not at all manly. From the offense perspective, it also gives Jiminez, Batista, et al., a chance to practice coming off the bench. Not manly, but pretty smart.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 3, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

How times have changed. What must have been in the water back when Walter Johnson was slingin the bean. Call me crazy, but, you'd think that with todays technology and workout regimens that pitchers would be able to complete both ends of a double header. Ok, so I'm a nut for saying that, but it's no stretch to think that you could at least get a complete game now and then, to save the pen. It wasn't that many years ago that pitchers would have at least a few complete games a year..what, maybe 20 or 30 years ago. Pitch counts...the ruination of the complete game. I guess it'll never go back to the way it was as the mindset of todays pitcher doesn't get trained to think 'complete game'. Just quality start. Quality start...6 innings. They'd laugh you out of the game way back then for that type of thinking.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 3, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't believe that Manny pinch-hit for bacsik in the bottom of the 7th up by three runs with 2 outs. Thru 7 IP, Bacsik threw only 81 pitches! He hadn't allowed a hit since the 2nd inning, and had only allowed one base-runner in that time (a HBP who was quickly erased by a DP). So in innings 3-7, he faced the minimum number of batters and did it by averaging about 10 pitches per inning.

The bullpen is being used WAY too much and this was the perfect night to save at least one arm. What's the problem with having Bacsik start the eighth? If he continues to mow them down, great! If he gets into a little trouble, then you bring in Rauch.

As for Toman/Lopez in the 1st inning: they both should be ridiculed for that bonehead play. You've got a rookie pitcher making his debut. There are no outs, runners on 1st and 2nd and Zim hits a line drive up the middle. Once again, the CFer has the ball in his glove BEFORE the runner even touches third base! You NEVER send a runner in this situation. Especially with no outs and arguably your best hitter coming to the plate. One note about this play, however. From where I was sitting (Sec 513 just up the 1st base line from home plate), it looked like the 2B (Phillips) faked and attempt to catch the ball (he looked pretty close to it). Seemed to me that Lopez hesitated just a moment to make sure that the ball went through before he headed to third. This delay plus the fact that the CFer HAD THE BALL BEFORE THE RUNNER TOUCHED THIRD should immediately let the third base coach not to send the runner!

Sorry for the shouting, but this is getting ridiculous. I don't think we'll see a change at 3B coach during the season, but I hope we'll see one in the off-season.

Posted by: e | August 3, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I dislike John Patterson for the simple fact that he had "Nasty" embroidered on his baseball glove.

That said, I hope he gets healthy and returns to a productive career.

Posted by: Mr. 300* | August 3, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the pointer, tomterp.

A HighWire search on "Galea" and "prolotherapy" doesn't yield any hits. That could mean either that Dr. Galea has not yet published original research, that HighWire doesn't host the journal(s) in which his research has been published (but neither do I find any cites to his publications, if any, on prolotherapy), or just that Dr. Galea is a practitioner rather than a researcher.

I'll be eager to hear his results, and will check for that podcast on BP.

Posted by: Hendo | August 3, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

... it's happening again this morning, that I can't get my post through to the blog. It might be a restriction placed on the internet by my gov't office. I'll try to send it again this evening from my home. Everyone hold your breath.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 3, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

To e about PH for Basckik....not to mention Bascik can hit.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 3, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

oops. I mean BasCIK.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 3, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Screed warning

"Why are pitchers so fragile?"
"When's the last time we had a complete game?"
"I don't like pitch counts."
"If a manager doesn't watch the pitch counts and a pitcher gets hurt, he'll be criticized."

All the above statements were made in posts over the last 24 hours, and these are all statements whose spirit I agree with completely. Pitchers' fragility drives me crazy and I'd like to share some thoughts on this.
In this country our baseball development system (such as it is) and culture are set up in such a way as to work against developing durable pitchers. It starts with baseball at the 9 and 10 year old level. Little league baseball and little league pitching rules limiting the number of pitches and innings kids can throw may have done more to destroy the durability of American pitchers than anything. In order to build arm strength from a young age, it is important that young players throw every day. Our little league rules, along with a culture in which youngsters only play baseball when it is organized has caused a situation in which on the one hand boys don't throw enough, but on the other hand they throw almost exclusively in very high pressure situations. Adults limit their ability to throw because of their rules and boys don't play pick-up games in the park anymore because they are conditioned to think that if it doesn't include a uniform, umpire, and trophies, it's not worthwhile. This bleeds into the HS game where boys and parents are often playing almost exclusively, "to reach the next level." They would rather hit 90 MPH on the gun than develop, so they get worried if their coaches ask them to throw every day. Consequently they do not really become the complete and durable pitcher they could.
One of the great weeding out exercises that went on before 1970 is that boys with bad throwing mechanics either changed because their arms got sore or didn't make it out of high school because they didn't change. This occurred because they threw a lot and their bodies were able to send them clear messages that they were doing something wrong. In addition, once they established themselves, they were expected to hit, play the field when they weren't pitching, and throw complete games - all expectations that have gone by the wayside. The introduction of the DH did not help this issue. If you look at the pitchers from the DR, there are many fewer arm injuries because they do not grow up in this culture. They play every day growing up. They play different positions. No one is telling them to stop throwing. Consequently they build arm strength. Sure kids blow their arms out, but frankly sore arms are a sign that a change in mechanics is needed. Kids who blow their arms out would have no chance to "make it" anyway. The fact that their arm might twinge when they arm mowing the lawn or taking out the garbage as adults is not that big a deal. The DR baseball culture has other bigger problems - kids dropping out of schools, etc., but here at least they are ahead of the US.
Japanese professional pitchers throw every day. The Atlanta Braves in their Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz hey day had THE most aggressive throwing program in the big leagues. I know also that the Braves limited their minor leaguers pitch counts. I would remind people though that the Braves did not DEVELOP many pitchers in that era. Smoltz was a Tiger farm hand. They signed Maddux as a free agent.
All this gets back to the idea that the Nats need to have forward (or perhaps backward) thinking people on their training and minor league staffs. Our pitchers need to be more healthy.

Posted by: #4 | August 3, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

e makes good point although let's forget about pitch count and focus on one base runner since 2nd inning. Why not let him go one more inning or maybe two? I stick w/ my theory of Manny being gun shy about burning up SP w/ so many having been injured plus the pen being so strong. And, we can 2nd guess Manny but let's not forgot we accomplished the goal last night...we won. Again, who cares about CG? I want Ws.

By the way, in my "where's the love for Rhinehart" bit, I forgot about Aaron "Dr." Seuss, also has OPS over 800. Would love to understand why Boone doesn't move guys like that up at least to Hagerston for the last month of the season. Not criticizing, I'm sure there are a million variables.

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | August 3, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

BTW ... I know it was against Cincy, but the Nats put these numbers up in the series:

20-8 runs
37 hits
14 doubles
1 home run

Starting Pitching:
17 2/3 IP
17 hits
7 earned runs
11 K's
5 walks

Relief Pitching:
9 1/3 IP
8 hits
1 earned run
5 K's
2 walks

Lopez (5-12 with one walk in the series), Kearns (4-13), Church (6-13!) and Logan (5-11) hit the heck out of the ball. Imagine if they were to do some of this a little more often, who knows what this team could do?

Okay, so I know they'll go bak to their slumping ways, but heck it's Friday and they not only swept another team, they did it by scoring 20 runs in only three games! And at home, no less! It usually takes them 6 or 7 games to score that many runs!

Posted by: e | August 3, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I have a question for the stats geeks. When you say the Nats are "on target to finish with such-and-such record," how are you figuring that?

Posted by: NatsNut | August 3, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

On pitchers and pitch counts:

I'm a young enthusiast of the game, so I don't really have the depth of experience many of you all do. But aren't hitters better today than they used to be? I thought that in the past - especially in the Big Train's day - most ball players were hard-living, hard-drinking fellows who often came to games hopped up or hammered. I know they used to play double-headers all the time and had grueling travel schedules and at one time had barnstorming trips while also on league trips.

All those things would make it a lot easier to get someone out. Less regulation of the strike zone and more betting on baseball would have led to bad umpiring and also contributed to lowering the quality of the game. For a once-in-a-millennia pitcher like Walkter Johnson, it would have made his job that much easier.

The other thing we don't know is how many major league players and specifically pitchers were injured. Perhaps Johnson was nearly as much an outlier then as he is now. I know many of you can remember a lot of pitchers being more durable, like pitching more complete games and getting 20 wins more often, but do we have any data of the total number of pitchers that entered the league and how many injuries they sustained?

Let's get some data, before we get too down on today's players.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 3, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse


... here is some stuff I found which might help you in your investigation into what went on when 'Johnny Went to Canada'.

... many Canadians remember the name Lloyd Percival, a coach and sports trainer from the 1960's. He revolutionized the way athletes train and stay in shape. And arising from his work, the state of modern sports medicine became a hallmark of Canadian sports and medicine. Many more world athletes than simply John Patterson now come to Canada for serious and effective training and rehab from injury.

... here is a link to a site which speaks of this man:

... one of the major innovations was the Hyperbaric Chamber. If you Google Canadian Sports Medicine Hyperbaric Chamber, you will go to a number of explanatory sites which give details about this procedure.

... unfortunately the link to the Canadian Institute of Sports Medicine where John P went for attention is broken or maybe the site is down, so I can't direct you there.

... many of you will recall the time back in the eighties, when Atlanta Braves' Bob Horner, wore an ultrasonic vibration producer on his wrist to aid in the healing (of a broken bone, I believe). That is as much an example of an extreme treatment as John P's time in a hyperbaric chamber.

Posted by: natscan reduxit (trying again) | August 3, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

... my last post went through after I removed a list of URL's. Presumably, listing them offended the blog rule about promoting comercial endeavours.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 3, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

"I have a question for the stats geeks. When you say the Nats are "on target to finish with such-and-such record," how are you figuring that?"

When I do it to go along with the GB/A stat, I take their current winning percentage and project it on to a 162-game season to come up with the number of games that would be won if they kept the same ratio of wins to losses the rest of the year.

This is an entirely useless statistic calculated in this way, of course. Most obviously, it doesn't take into account difficulty of schedule, so temporary spikes and valleys in PCT due to the Tigers or the Reds coming to town are projected as normal behavior.

But it's fun to smile about.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 3, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Okay...since someone asked...a search of the PubMed database brings up 42 medical journal papers that address prolotherapy. I've copied the references for the first 10 or so below, in case anyone has access to a med-school library. (no, I doubt that the J.Patterson author of the last one is our own JP !)

Mainly seems to be related to lower back pain, judging from the titles...

Fleming S, Rabago DP, Mundt MP, Fleming MF.
CAM therapies among primary care patients using opioid therapy for chronic pain.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2007 May 16;7:15.

Dagenais S, Yelland MJ, Del Mar C, Schoene ML.
Prolotherapy injections for chronic low-back pain.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Apr 18;(2):CD004059. Review.

Hooper RA, Frizzell JB, Faris P.
Case series on chronic whiplash related neck pain treated with intraarticular zygapophysial joint regeneration injection therapy.
Pain Physician. 2007 Mar;10(2):313-8.

Wilkinson HA.
Injection therapy for enthesopathies causing axial spine pain and the "failed back syndrome": a single blinded, randomized and cross-over study.
Pain Physician. 2005 Apr;8(2):167-73.

Centeno CJ, Elliott J, Elkins WL, Freeman M.
Fluoroscopically guided cervical prolotherapy for instability with blinded pre and post radiographic reading.
Pain Physician. 2005 Jan;8(1):67-72.

Dagenais S, Ogunseitan O, Haldeman S, Wooley JR, Newcomb RL.
Side effects and adverse events related to intraligamentous injection of sclerosing solutions (prolotherapy) for back and neck pain: A survey of practitioners.
Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2006 Jul;87(7):909-13.

Forst SL, Wheeler MT, Fortin JD, Vilensky JA.
The sacroiliac joint: anatomy, physiology and clinical significance.
Pain Physician. 2006 Jan;9(1):61-7. Review.

Yelland MJ, Schluter PJ.
Defining worthwhile and desired responses to treatment of chronic low back pain.
Pain Med. 2006 Jan-Feb;7(1):38-45.

Hakala RV.
Prolotherapy (proliferation therapy) in the treatment of TMD.
Cranio. 2005 Oct;23(4):283-8. Review.

Paoloni JA, Orchard JW.
The use of therapeutic medications for soft-tissue injuries in sports medicine.
Med J Aust. 2005 Oct 3;183(7):384-8. Review.

Rabago D, Best TM, Beamsley M, Patterson J.
A systematic review of prolotherapy for chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Clin J Sport Med. 2005 Sep;15(5):376-80. Review.

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | August 3, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

"... unfortunately the link to the Canadian Institute of Sports Medicine where John P went for attention is broken or maybe the site is down, so I can't direct you there."

Anyone else getting the vaguely uneasy feeling that John Patterson really went to visit Dr. Mephistopheles?

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 3, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Wrapping up the prolotherapy research subthread by noting -- as I think others have -- that this therapy is practiced by several dozen physicians around the US.

That number includes at least three Washington-area physicians: Dr. Mayo Friedlis of Fairfax, Dr. Ingrid Gheen of Chevy Chase and Dr. Robert H. Wagner of Alexandria. Maybe one of them could provide input for the Health section in a slow week (of which August tends to have four or so, BTW).

Posted by: Hendo | August 3, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Hendo, look here:

Posted by: tomterp | August 3, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

#4, again I applaud your viewpoint and your articulate screed. Well said!

The development of pitchers in DR and Venezuela is not only to create pitchers but to create players - notice how many who grew up in these environments can hit, or at least bunt, and run. Although that culture seems to be changing too, sadly.

The culture of the DH, even in minor leagues, is creating a dearth of some fundamental skills like bunting. A High School prospect signed by an AL team and coming through the ranks is quite possibly never going to hit/bunt until the bigs, in an interleague game.

NatsNut: one simple way to project the finish record is to take the current winning percentage and factor into a 162-game season (and round up or down for desired effect).

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | August 3, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

ShawNatsFan -

Thanks. One interesting difference between the DR and Venezuela is that in the latter, there are organized little leagues and amateur teams. Players get a chance to be part of team and learn about what that means. In the DR, almost none of that exists. Manny Acta has actually started and funded a little league, one of the few in the DR, in his home town - Consuelo. Scouts like the guys from Venezuela because they've seen them in that environment. The only comparable experience most of the DR guys have had is playing on one the very loosely organized buscone teams.

Posted by: #4 | August 3, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Thanks 506 and ShawNatsFan for the stat info. I thought I knew how to calculate winning percentage but drew a complete blank when I tried, so I had to look that up first. So that means we would be on track for a 72-90 record as of today?

Posted by: NatsNut | August 3, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Patterson;

I wonder what the chances are we will see him pitch in the bigs this year? Does he need rehab stars like Nick Johnson? If so the minor league season ends in about a month...

Even if he does pitch, what are the chances the Nats will offer him arbitration or an extension for next season?

We need to have a large supply of potential starters for spring training. I expect to see;

Locks for Rotation (barring injury)

Also in the mix
Possible FA signee(s)?
Other possible minor league invitees?

This assumes that Bacsik, Bowie, Simontacchi are going to be competing for bullpen slots.

That has 5-7 guys competing for 2 starting slots, much better than this years free for all...

Posted by: estuartj | August 3, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I think Manny did well to pull Bacsik when he did last night. Next year maybe different, but this year our starters need to develop some confidence - and Bacsik is on a role in that regard. Last night he got the win and finished very strong. He should be well-poised for his next outing.

That said, overusing the bullpen has to be a SERIOUS concern for us in the last two months of the season. The first two months no doubt took an extrordinary toll when our starters were doing well to get out of the fourth inning. I am especially concerned about Rauch and was pleased to see him only through to one batter the other night and would like to see him used more sparingly. It may cost us a game or two down the stretch - but I want to see him healthy next year.

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | August 3, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

time to move along...Barry's got a new one up

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | August 3, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

... an interesting fact about Tony Galea is that he is the head team pysician of the CFL-leading Toronto Argonauts.

... one source says of him, that he is a firm believer in quick healing - take that for what it's worth.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | August 3, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to Barry's Babe, natscan, tomterp, et al., for the cites and links. They'll keep me busy come October, if not sooner.

Hitting the test bench this afternoon. (I actually am a practicing systems engineer, among too many other things. And -- cue Korn in the campy cop outfit -- I like it.)

See you tonight at RFK.

Posted by: Hendo | August 3, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

A question whose answer has always escaped me: Why are starting pitchers expected (or hoped) to be able to go 6/7 innings minimum, while relievers are "overworked" if they go 2 innings one night and 2 the next? I know there are middle relievers and certainly guys like Schroder have done 3 or so innings lately, but there seems to be a huge gap between what is expected of a starter and what is out of the question for a reliever. Shouldn't there be a middle-ground of pitchers who can go 4/5 innings, or 2 innings a few nights in a row? Can anyone explain this?

Posted by: JennX | August 3, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Barry has a new post

Posted by: #4 | August 3, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Grrr. I hate when that happens! :) If anyone sees fit to still respond to my above question, I'd appreciate it!

Posted by: JennX | August 3, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut--You are correct. Also, to win 72 games they only have to play 4 below .500 ball, eminently doable. I was very surpised that Barry stuck to his 62 games prediction.

Posted by: Sec 417 Row 8 Seat 9 | August 3, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

estuart has great point on rotation for '08. Agree w/ Bergman, Hill, Chico as locks.

Another good point asking about arbitration for JP. Obviously, he's eligible for it again but I can't remember the rule. Do the Nats HAVE to offer it to him? Or can they cut him loose? Even if they can, they won't and shouldn't. He at least deserves another shot at it in '08. He won't warrent much, if any, raise in arbitration, it's all based on stats and the few he has this year are lousy. (just facts, don't jump on me for being negative).

Therefore, I say JP is also a lock for Opening Day rotation '08 but would argue missing this year takes away his opening day spot. And I noticed you didn't mention Redding or Simontacchi who warrant a look next Spring.

Lannan, Hanrahan, Balester deserve a chance but it's premature to put Detwiler in the mix. Let him do high A and AA next year and maybe get called up mid season.

Also O'Connor s/b back from injury and deserves a look.

I should do some work now!

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | August 3, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

JennX (GenX?) ... I think it has to do with the fact that starters only work every five days or so and relievers work more like three out of five days.

Posted by: i hate walks | August 3, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty obvious why Patterson was in Toronto... isn't marijuana legal up there? I think he was up there using it as a pain killer.
Now he's back and high and all happy and in good spirits. Damn, I would be too if I was getting paid that much to smoke pot and sit on my butt because my arm hurt.

Posted by: Juice | August 3, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

This is a response to last night's entry in the journal. I was busy last night and again this morning and so I am posting it in both places in hopes it will be read.

Yes, it's "obviously a frustrating situation" for Patterson, and your blog, Barry, and your followers, with your mean-spirited, back-stabbing comments and innuendo have helped to make it that way. In 2005 all the fans were behind Patterson and he felt their support and believed he pitched better because of it. For possibly the first time in his career, he felt appreciated. Is he now seeing the true colors of these same fans who are willing, and even eager, to kick him when he is down? I sincerely hope not, but one has to wonder. I don't doubt that he is not eager to talk to the press after the many unkind - to put it charitably - things they have written about him lately. And Barry Svrluga has led the pack. I was glad to read what Bowden said: ..."'re hurt, it's not your fault, and you tend to be criticized by the media and by fans..." Jim Bowden knows the truth about John Patterson's injury - that it's not his fault, that he is doing everything he can to become healthy, and he should not be castigated for it.

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | August 3, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

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