- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 25, 2006

John Patterson’s next start isn’t being pushed back one day. The right-hander’s next outing is now being skipped entirely.

Patterson’s right forearm was re-examined by the club’s medical staff after he threw on flat ground yesterday. It was determined that rest is the best remedy for Patterson to alleviate tightness near his elbow and concluded that Patterson has a strained flexor muscle, which is located on the inside part of his right elbow.

“It just looked like one day wasn’t going to be enough time to kind of let this thing calm down and see if we can get a handle on it,” Patterson said. “So, we’re going to shut me down for three or four days and see if some medicine can take effect.”

Patterson is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four starts this season. He originally was scheduled to pitch today against the Cincinnati Reds, but had that start pushed back until tomorrow in St. Louis against Sidney Ponson. It now appears that long reliever Jon Rauch (0-0, 1.46 ERA) is a candidate to open the four-game series in St. Louis for the Nationals.

Nationals left-hander Billy Traber was knocked out of last night’s game in the second inning after allowing four runs on four hits. Instead of calling for Rauch, manager Frank Robinson summoned right-hander Gary Majewski, hinting that the club may be saving Rauch. Robinson said after the game that Rauch was available to pitch. Fortunately, the Nationals bullpen did its job and Rauch was spared.

The Nationals are undecided whether to make a roster move and call up another pitcher.

Also, there’s a possibility that injured starter Pedro Astacio could begin a rehab assignment as early as this weekend. Astacio, who opened the season on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm, threw live batting practice Monday and reported no pain in his throwing arm.

Setback for Fick

Catcher-first baseman Robert Fick, who underwent right elbow surgery during spring training, was recalled from his rehab assignment at Class AA Harrisburg because of a sore right shoulder. He is allowed another 20 days for a rehab assignment because this is a different injury.

Got a question about the Nats? Mark Zuckerman has the answers. To submit a question, go to the Sports Page

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