- The Washington Times - Friday, May 20, 2005

TORONTO — Washington Nationals pitcher John Patterson will make his next scheduled start Wednesday in Cincinnati.

Patterson was originally slated to start last night against Toronto but was scratched Wednesday after developing a sore back. Claudio Vargas started instead on two days’ rest.

There was speculation Patterson (2-1, 2.98 ERA) would start tomorrow, but Robinson eliminated that possibility. Tomo Ohka will get the start.

“Patterson is not going to go Sunday,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. “There’s no sense in rushing him. He can have a couple more days and just let him have his full five days or six days. He’s just skipping a turn.”

Patterson has been one of the Nationals’ pleasant surprises this season, thriving after earning the No.5 spot in the rotation in spring training.

“It feels a lot better today. I was able to do some stretches that I wasn’t able to do a couple days ago,” Patterson said. “So I can’t see any reason why I won’t make my next start.”

Ohka was banished to the bullpen when the Nationals activated Vargas on May10. In his only relief outing, Ohka tossed 52/3 shutout innings on Tuesday against Milwaukee.

Guillen’s back

Outfielder Jose Guillen was back in the lineup after sitting out three games with sore ribs. Robinson was just happy to get Guillen out of the dugout.

“He was yakking all the time, talking all the time. Just get him back on the field,” Robinson said. “I had to find him something to do, tie him down or gag him, whatever. He broke up our momentum taking our lineup card up to home plate. Even if we had won, we should fine [Nationals bench coach Eddie Rodriguez] for that. I told [Guillen] no more of that. Then he thought he was going to manage for a while, and it only last two innings and he was gone — 6-0 and he was gone.”

Guillen, who went 0-for-4, said the rest did him some good.

“I’m trying to get better, and I’m getting some treatment and doing some work that I need to do, and I’m back in there,” Guillen said before the game. “It’s going to be a good test to see how it feels during the game going against an opposing pitcher. I feel fine. There’s no soreness any more.”

W. Cordero on rehab

Injured first baseman Wil Cordero (knee surgery) was supposed to begin a rehab assignment yesterday, but Class A Potomac’s game was rained out.

Cordero wanted to do his rehab close to the District because his wife is expecting the couple’s third child. Robinson is giving Cordero a chance to get as many at-bats as possible before the Nationals return from their three-city trip.

“It shouldn’t take him long as far as his bat is concerned,” Robinson said.

Meanwhile, reliever T.J. Tucker will began a rehab assignment tomorrow at Class AAA New Orleans. Tucker was placed on the 15-day DL on April 19 with a pulled right groin.

The first DH

Jeffrey Hammonds became the Nationals’ first designated hitter when he hit seventh in the team’s interleague opener.

Hammonds never really thought about becoming the Nationals’ first DH, though his name may be the answer of a trivia question some day. It has been seven seasons since Hammonds last played in the American League with Baltimore, and he can’t remember how much DHing he did earlier in his career.

“As you get older, DHing is something of a perk,” Hammonds said. “When you’re in your 20s, you’re not allowed to DH. Now I’m in my 30s, I guess it’s a lottery ticket of sorts. ‘Oh cool, I’m DHing today.’ It’s definitely a change of pace. You’ve got to be ready and watch the game and make sure you know the situation when you come up to the plate.”

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