- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 25, 2005

CINCINNATI — Desperate for another healthy body on their bench, the Washington Nationals placed pitcher John Patterson on the disabled list and plan to promote outfielder Tyrell Godwin from Class AAA New Orleans in time for this weekend’s series in St. Louis.

Patterson was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 16 with back spasms. He’s also recovering from an inflamed right wrist, the byproduct of a bad reaction to medication he received while undergoing treatment on his back.

Patterson will be eligible to return in time for his scheduled start Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves, and he figures to be ready by then. He made about 40 throws from flat ground yesterday and plans to take a full bullpen session Saturday in St. Louis.

“It helps the team,” Patterson said. “We need an extra guy right now. And I wasn’t going to pitch until Tuesday anyways. I was fine with it.”

The Nationals have said repeatedly they don’t believe Godwin, a speedy outfielder acquired from the Blue Jays over the winter, is ready to play in the major leagues. But with 11 players now on the DL and a razor-thin bench, Washington general manager Jim Bowden had to add another position player to his roster.

Godwin is hitting .333 for the Zephyrs with two homers, 12 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 44 games. He’s not likely to remain with the Nationals for more than a week, but he will provide a valuable service as a pinch-runner or late-game substitution.

“Hey, we’ll see what he can do,” manager Frank Robinson said. “We’re not bringing him up here to play on a daily basis. He’s coming up here to be a specialist.”

Armas gets nod

With Patterson unavailable to start tomorrow night in St. Louis as originally planned, Robinson will turn to Tony Armas Jr. against the Cardinals.

Robinson could have gone with Tomo Ohka, who is coming off two straight impressive outings, but said he chose Armas in part because of the organization’s long-term commitment to the 27-year-old right-hander. Armas struggled in his last start, giving up seven runs in seven innings against the Toronto Blue Jays, but is seen as a vital piece of the Nationals’ future rotation.

“I just felt like Tony’s had two, three starts. Let’s see if we can find out something about him,” Robinson said. “You have to feel like he’s going to be a part of this team next year.”

As for Ohka, whose 3.71 ERA is only .01 worse than that of ace Livan Hernandez? He’s a possibility to start Monday’s game against the Atlanta Braves at RFK Stadium.

“Ohka’s going to go somewhere,” Robinson said. “He’s certainly not forgotten.”

Good Day, bad Day

Just when things were finally starting to look up for Zach Day, he struggled through another tough outing on the mound.

It has been a rough week for the right-hander, who took a line drive by Ken Griffey Jr. off his wrist Monday night and also has been preoccupied with the welfare of his sister and her premature baby.

Day, a Cincinnati native, received good news on several fronts yesterday. His bruised wrist healed extraordinarily fast, to the point he was able to pitch two innings out of the bullpen in yesterday’s blowout loss. The bad news: He gave up five runs and watched his ERA balloon to 6.75.

On the bright side, there was encouraging news from home, where sister Erin (who has a history of kidney problems) was due to be released from the hospital yesterday after receiving one last dialysis treatment. Baby Annie, who weighed only 1 pound, 7 ounces when she was born early Saturday morning, also is doing well and could go home in two to three weeks.

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