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Patterson to have surgery

Right-hander John Patterson will have surgery to decompress the radial nerve in his right elbow, GM Jim Bowden and Patterson said today.

Patterson was here at RFK Stadium, and it was very clear in talking to him that he is extraordinarily frustrated by this whole process. He had surgery last year to decompress a different nerve in his right arm, and in some ways he feels like this whole year is wasted. He made only seven starts and went 1-5 with a 7.47 ERA.

"I've tried everything that I can try to not have surgery," Patterson said. "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."

That included going to some off-the-beaten path treatments in suburban Toronto. I just got back from the clubhouse, where Patterson did his best to explain to me the nature of the problem. He has scar tissue between two muscles in his upper arm -- between the triceps and the brachial muscle, he said. That has constricted the nerve, because when he throws, the nerve is trying to pull away from the scar tissue and the muscle, and it's causing him a tremendous amount of pain.

The treatment in Toronto, Patterson said, helped with problems he had in his forearm. But it couldn't solve the problem in the upper arm.

"It's very, very frustrating," he said.

Still, he thinks he'll be ready for spring training. "I've got six months," he said. The Nationals and Patterson are working to find a doctor with whom they're both comfortable. "I need a specialist for a special problem," Patterson said.

"Obvioulsy John's very disappointed," Bowden said. "We tried everything to prevent the surgery, but there's no choice at this point."

I'll get you more in the $.35 edition as well as in other Journal posts. In other news, Alex Escobar will have surgery on his foot and is also out for the year. In terms of words I've written per at-bat he's taken, Escobar certainly leads the team by a wide margin.

By Barry Svrluga  |  August 31, 2007; 6:29 PM ET
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Next: The Patterson question


Hey Barry, how do teams (ok, the Nationals) feel about spending big money (for medical expenses) on a player late in the season when he might only have a few weeks left with the team? Should this be taken as a sign the Nationals plan to offer arbitration to Patterson? Would they fork over the money, time, and effort regardless of what their plans are? Just curious how things like this are viewed.

Posted by: Matt | August 31, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

To clarify; it just seems like the Nationals have gone to extraordiany lengths to help JPat get to 100% (2+ surgeries now, the Canada trip, touring around the country to different specialists, etc), and perhaps by no fault of his own, he's given the Nationals only 15 starts & 72 innings over the last 2 years. Not very good return on their money, to say the least.

Posted by: Matt | August 31, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

So I missed the new post by Mr S and have been posting live game updates in the "line up" post. Oh well. Too many Tortilla Coast Ambers on the way in I guess. Check them out if you're interested. Best news from RFK so far is the field looks better than it has in weeks and Correia's up to almost 50 pitches after 2.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Crowd is close to turning on Redding. Need to get the pitcher here.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Nice catch by Kearns top 4. BTW Roberts AB produced the closest I've come to a foul ball. 2 rows down 5 seats over. I should have dived for it. Extended inning after 2 fast outs but no more harm done. Still 3-1 bottom 4th. Need hits! Abe wins after Teddy gives the Heiseman pose! Best loss yet.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Nice catch by Kearns top 4. BTW Roberts AB produced the closest I've come to a foul ball. 2 rows down 5 seats over. I should have dived for it. Extended inning after 2 fast outs but no more harm done. Still 3-1 bottom 4th. Need hits! Abe wins after Teddy gives the Heiseman pose! Best loss yet.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Kearns wakes up the crowd with a line drive HR. Nats Bullpen is stirring. Can't see who from here. Its a lefty though for sure.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Kearns wakes up the crowd with a line drive HR. Nats Bullpen is stirring. Can't see who from here. Its a lefty though for sure.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the dupes. Apparently refresh on the blackberry is a bad idea. Basick in for the 6th. Correia has settled into a groove. Almost hit a 2B to lead off the 6th. Nice running grab by Nook.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Double barrel action in the SF pen. Let's go WMP!

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

PNC Bank PIN is rigged. Guess higher than 8 and win? Top 7. Let's go Basick. Nice play by FLop. Credit where its due.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Bacsik given the quick hook. He was pitching well. Hit was a weak grounder up the middle. Was Manny to quick to yank him?

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Maybe not. Nice K by Schroder.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Lead off 2B by Bellie. Not bad for a guy with inner ear issues. Now let's get him home.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Kid on the jumotron wearing a Vick VT jersey just got booed. Too funny!

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I am Ronnie wasted double. Lots of folks bailing out of RFK after that.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

" and perhaps by no fault of his own, he's given the Nationals only 15 starts & 72 innings over the last 2 years. Not very good return on their money, to say the least."

I don't know why you say PERHAPS by no fault of his own. It is DEFINITELY by no fault of his own! I don't know why you would even suggest that he might be at fault. Do you think he did it on purpose? This was supposed to be a great year for him, his arm was to be at 100% finally and in addition to that he is getting married in the fall. Do you think he would intentionally sit out the season, subject himself to the rigorous treatments in Canada, and then have another surgery on his arm just for the fun of it??? Also he has a contract with the Nationals and it is their responsibility to try to get him healthy so he can help the team, which is all he wants. The AP news items about his trip to Toronto said that he went on "his own" to Toronto which might mean that he paid for those treatments himself. Any info on that, Barry? The Nats ought to sign him next year - he certainly should come cheap and just maybe the surgeon(s) can get it right this time! If he can get back anywhere near his 2005 form - and we saw glimpses of it in 2006 and even 2007 (don't forget he outpitched Peavy in his next to last start) - he can be one of the most dominating pitchers in the National League.

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | August 31, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Quite an effective 2 tiered wave going on. Smattering of boos for Aurillia from those hoping to see Barry* PH for Walker. God news is that he and his 97 MPH heater is done for the evening. Good effort just to get to that ball by Flop. No way he deserved an error.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Oye. Up to WMP, Bellie, and Schneider in the 9th. Last 2 pitchers for SF have been impressive. Mid to upper 90's on the gun. Come on Samson... I mean Rauch. Quick top of the 9th here huh?

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Nice. Last chance. Let's go. Big fly WMP.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

That was awful.5 pitches. Off to the orange line.

Posted by: MKevin | August 31, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

What is the record for consecutive 1 run losses?

Posted by: estuartj | August 31, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, but this one feels a lot better than the last several. Minus the one missed throw by Dmitri the Nats played decent baseball.

I'll be gone this weekend and back on Monday. I'll do GB/A then, but it won't be pretty this week.

I'll report the findings my content analysis of the Post's August baseball coverage on the 6th, which is the next off-day. That will give me time to crunch some numbers and it will also give us a discussion prompt for the day.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | August 31, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

The ChiSox are going down tonight too so we aren't even make up any games in the draft pick race either. Although Tampa won, but let's hope we don't overtake them.

Posted by: estuartj | August 31, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Chico and Abreu tonight.

Posted by: Andrew S. | August 31, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Bringing Chico back is a start, I think next spring's atarting rotation should be;


Add Justin Maxwell as starting CF and we're at least getting younger, if not better.

Posted by: estuartj | September 1, 2007 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Can't complain too much about the loss, aside from BEGGING God to help Redding throw more than one consecutive first-pitch strike. Did he ever? I couldn't tell from the upper deck third baseline. Or did the ump just have one heckuva strange strike zone?

Loved watching Nook patrol CF tonight. Seems like he, despite being, what, a full FOOT(?) shorter than WilyMo, is able to cover more ground than WilyMo.

As for Big Nasty, I totally feel for the guy. Barry's done a really good job of conveying the incredible sensitivity JohnP has about his arm. I can't get the memory out of my head from his performance last year against the Marlins where he had something like 11 strikeouts. You could tell right through the TV screen that that man was in a zone most of us are lucky to access maybe once or twice in our lives.

All that said, someone with that finicky an arm makes me hope we have some good backups for him next year, just in case.

Off to Central America for 5 days on Saturday to visit 96-year-old grandmother. Y'all have a nice safe holiday!

Posted by: Juan-John | September 1, 2007 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Well, a little delayed after a gorgeous night at RFK... Dunno what was on TV or radio, but from my seat in 218:

1) I don't know what the deal was with Redding, but I counted THREE first-pitch strikes in 26 batters. THREE. He couldn't throw strikes to the pitcher. He couldn't throw a strike to save his life. In the seats, we were cheering whenever his pitch count hit more strikes than balls. Really lucky outing for him to only give up those 3 in the second. I like Redding, but he couldn't hit the strike zone to save his life.

2. Nook seems like he's feeling comfortable both in the field and in the right batters box. He seemed to have the best at bats of anyone tonight.

3. DJ swinging at the first pitch, above his eyes, as a PH. Dude, if you are going to be a stud again, you need to change your mindset as a PH.

4. FLop made several nice plays at SS - again, much better to his right than to his left. Maybe due to his 2nd base training?

5. There is one REALLY hot NatPack girl. I was a little more distracted than I like to admit tonight.

6. Bacsik came in and got the job done, BUT he gave up a couple VERY deep fly ball outs to start. They both coulda been out elsewhere, but he was very efficient.

7. Schroder is on a tear. I'm a big fan of giving him many opps in September.

8. Everyone around me was disappointed to not see Barry* tonight. Gotta admit, we only get one 3 game series to see the Gints all year, and Barry only once. I hear them, but still don't feel nuttin' about him. Except hoping to hear some boos.

9. Kearns had a great game. I'm really thriled to see him step up lately, as I think he did get a pass for his poor performance the whole first half. He's taking good walks and getting good hacks, and seems to be in a good place.

10. What's up with Zimm? At the end of the season, I wouldn't be surprised if he had more groundballs to short than anyone in the league. I still have faith, Zimm!

10* - the 7th inning stretch had the Presidents dancing on the dugout to "Shout" which got the crowd up and going. It was one of the most animated nights for the crowd I've seen in my 25 or so visits to RFK tonight. The wave was going, the clapping was happening (on 2 strikes, which is about time) and the crowd was on their feet with 2 strikes and 2 outs. I was amazed and thrilled!

All in all, a frustrating, but still enjoyable night at the park. Damn I hate these 1-run losses. Again and again.

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | September 1, 2007 2:39 AM | Report abuse

"where he had something like 11 strikeouts."

It was 13 strikeouts - the second time Patterson has done that. He gave up 1 run, 3 hits, and 1 intentional walk - a throughly dominating performance - and just when the Nats desperately needed a win.

And I don't know what you mean by a "finicky" arm. Patterson has nerve problems and it hurts tremendously when he throws - it's that simple. If Barry has given the idea that Patterson's arm is "finicky" he ought to apologize to Patterson! Patterson's is no more "finicky" than Hill's and other pitchers who have had arm injuries! Try throwing a baseball 60'6" with a burning/throbbing arm and see how effective you can be and how long you can stand it. Patterson has been doing that for a long while, hoping the pain would go away. It didn't!

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | September 1, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

On JP:

The Nats absolutely have to pay for his surgery and rehab. First its part of the CBA. Second, they would NEVER attract a FA if word got around they shortchanged an injured player. Third, he still has the best stuff of anyone in the organization. When healthy, he's a proven #1 big league starter. Those are rare indeed. Do I share everyone's frustration with his situation? Of course. But the upside is so huge.

Barry's column on JP today peaked my interest. He mentioned that JP has not felt right since throwing an intrasquad game on March 5th. I saw him throw in Mid-March in Viera where he get rocked by Detroit. Afterwards I watched him do his post-game work, and he appeared to be going through the motions. I chalked it up to a bad attitude, but now I realize he was probably very concerned about how his arm felt. I give the chances of his healthy return about 10%. Once an arm starts breaking down, it's hard to fix. I'm holding out hope though. One thing to ponder: would his arm react better to being a reliever? Could he be the dominant closer? He's got the stuff, but does he have the mental make-up. Would he want to do it?


You're rushing the young pups a bit with your rotation. Let's give Balester and Detwiler at least 1/2 year at AAA next year. I could see that as the July rotation maybe. Also, I agree that Maxwell should be moved quickly. He's 23. Some say though the biggest jump is between high A and AA, so he needs a least 1/2 a year at Harrisburg before he's brought up. I'm afraid under the big league pressure the Nats might destroy his confidence. Let's remember he got off to terrible start at Potomac when moved up.

Lastly, I attended the game last night. I sat in a loge box in LF. Boy, I don't like those seats. It's hard to hear the fan noise and get into the game. They were freebies though so I shouldn't complain. Other observations:

1. I loved the 7th inning dancing presidents too. They need to keep doing that.

2. I didn't think Nook took great ABs. His K with Belliard on 2nd and 2 outs was pathetic. I know he's been batting 8th a lot of the year, but he has only 19 RBIs in over 250 ABs. That projects to 40 RBIs for a full year. What's his RISP batting average? It cannot be very good unless he's been batting with VERY few runners on base.

3. Schneider cannot swing at that outside pitch on the 1-1 count with Belliard on 2nd and no one out. He HAS to pull the ball there. He needs to take that pitch or at least roll over a ground ball to the 2nd baseman. That was a crucial AB. Yes, Church popped up next, but the dynamic of the inning changes if Belliard gets to 3rd with one out.

4. It was good to see the bully back to its effective self.

Posted by: #4 | September 1, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Look, I don't care what jpsmom or anyone else says. Here's a quote:

"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."

He also made it sound as though he planned on pitching again this season. That was on August 2nd. Now, in today's notebook he says that he hasn't felt good since March 8th, and it's been "the worst pain you can imagine".

So, to recap, we now know 2 things about John Patterson.

1- He's a liar.

2- He has no pain threshold.

Posted by: Matt | September 1, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

And, yeah, I was pretty sure there had to be something in the CBA regarding surgeries, treatment, etc. I guess I was just wondering how the FO feels about the whole situation. The only other guy that comes to mind as being in the same situation as JPat (although I'm sure there are plenty of others) is Carl Pavano. Thankfully the Nats only wasted a couple mil on JPat, the Yankees wasted, what, $40 mil? Or was it 20?

Posted by: Matt | September 1, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Next spring, or before, the Nats will be sending a Dear John letter to JP. Lets face it, the sand has run through the hour glass on JP. I know his potential when healthy is off the charts, note the word "healthy". I don't think that word is to be seen in a byline next to JPs name ever again. With young pitching coming through the organization, the time has probably come to wave bye-bye. And thats truly a shame, for what could have been. The 2005 season, when he last posessed the "Ace" type arm, is fading from the memories of at least myself, if not a majority of the fan base. How long can the future wait on the past? At some point you have to turn in another direction, and, I feel that time has most likely come. Good luck JP, I truly hope you make a full recovery and make me eat my words.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | September 1, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

SC and Matt:

I understand and agree with your points. I just don't see why the Nats need to send him a Dear John letter yet. He's inexpensive (way below $1 million I would think) and spending a 40 man roster spot on him is not that big a deal. They can put him on the 60 day DL the minute he's injured again so as not to take a spot. I think the very small chance it works out is worth the risk given the upside.

Posted by: #4 | September 1, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

#4...My heart is with your thoughts on JP, but, the business of baseball leads me to believe JPs time is up. 2 years of being rather non productive has me thinking the the patience by management must be wearing thin. While your points are worth noting, the fact that pitching in the minors is progressing faster than expected I feel will short circuit such thoughts in the end. What a shame.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | September 1, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I've got no problem with the team bringing JP back next year. I don't think I've ever stated that they shouldn't (maybe I did in a fit of rage at some point, but I don't think I have). I just want to make sure we as fans don't get caught up in that "ace", "#1 starter", or "30 starts, 200 innings" nonsense ever again. If he does any of that, great, I'll be the first one to congratulate him on a job well done. I just want to make sure that everyone sees what's going on here; that he's a liar and can't be believed when he talks about his health, and that he's going to miss a start anytime he gets a hangnail.

Posted by: Matt | September 1, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else suspect that "jpsfanandproudofit" is actually JP himself? The knee-jerk reactions to anyone saying any word that might in some way be defined as negative toward Patterson just couldn't come from an average fan.

Maybe I've just been reading too much about the Whole Foods CEO trolling investor discussion boards.

Posted by: JennX | September 1, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

#4, the Presidents have been dancing on top of the home dugout during the seventh inning stretch at least since the Fourth of July game, if not before. Let's hope that when they come out on top of the dugout tonight, in the spirit of those Orioles fans pictured in the Post yesterday George, Tom and Abe will be wearing giant paper bags over their heads after having lost the race to that loser Teddy. (I guess they can't be Giant bags, though, since Safeway is a sponsor at RFK...)

Posted by: Section 419 | September 1, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Alas, Teddy is still winless... I'm not sure which got more boos, the fact that Teddy lost on his bobble day or Barry Bonds* appearances. Nah, it was Barroid, hands down. I was sitting in Sect. 444, as will be the case again today, and I do have to give the other Barry props in that he merely doffed his cap in response to the boos rather than flipping off the fans as another visiting left fielder did this year...

BTW, I haven't caught up on comments, having been gadding about with natsfans 1B and 1c in the past few days, but I did read the initial comments on the broadcasting thread and see that, among other events, we've had a marriage proposal. Congrats! I like the marriage on the mound idea, NatsNut. Didja know that our own Micah Bowie was married on the mound at the Bull Durham's stadium (at least, as best I can recollect from the media guide, it was him)?

Also, not to crow, but we were at the P-Nats game on Friday and the Chicken is awesome!!!


Let's hope that when they come out on top of the dugout tonight, in the spirit of those Orioles fans pictured in the Post yesterday George, Tom and Abe will be wearing giant paper bags over their heads after having lost the race to that loser Teddy. (I guess they can't be Giant bags, though, since Safeway is a sponsor at RFK...)

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 2, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

That was awful.5 pitches. Off to the orange line.

Posted by: MKevin | September 3, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

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