PITTSBURGH — John Patterson is back on the disabled list, and it looks like he might stay there for the rest of the season.
The Washington Nationals placed the right-hander on the 15-day DL yesterday (retroactive to July 10) with the same forearm strain that already sidelined him for two months earlier this year. The injury still hasn’t fully healed, so Patterson will undergo a series of tests next week to determine a course of action.
Both Patterson and the team are holding out hope that the injury can be treated with simple rehabilitation, but both sides acknowledge that surgery is an option.
“Is it a possibility? Yeah,” Patterson said before last night’s game against the Pirates. “But at this point, we’re going to have the tests done, see what the images show and then go from there.”
Patterson will return to Washington at the end of the weekend, undergo a nerve conduction study on Monday and an enhanced MRI on Tuesday. He’ll then be examined Wednesday by team orthopedist Ben Shaffer and specialist James Andrews.
“He has a very unique injury,” general manager Jim Bowden said. “We are going to try to look at what options we have. We’ve done everything we can from a rehabilitation perspective, and now we just need to do more tests to see if possibly surgery would solve it or if there’s any other thing we are not doing that we could do to get him back on track faster.”
The Nationals are expected to fill Patterson’s roster spot by purchasing the contract of right-handed reliever Kevin Gryboski from Class AAA New Orleans before tonight’s game.
They’ll need to add a starter, though, before Patterson’s next turn in the rotation on Tuesday. Bowden said left-hander Mike O’Connor will tentatively be recalled from New Orleans to start that game, with right-hander Tony Armas Jr. coming off the DL in time to start Monday against the Florida Marlins.
But this much is clear: Patterson won’t be pitching anytime soon.
The 28-year-old made four starts after returning from the DL last month, but looked sharp in only the first one. He complained of a “dead arm” his second time out, bounced back a bit five days later but then had to be removed after one inning on Sunday at RFK Stadium.
He received a cortisone shot that afternoon, but a similar procedure earlier this season didn’t solve the problem.
“It worked for a certain period of time, and then it just started breaking down again,” Patterson said. “I just need some time to get some strength back in it, to get it stronger.”