- The Washington Times - Monday, May 30, 2005

The Washington Nationals will get two key contributors back today when the club activates right-hander John Patterson and first baseman Wil Cordero off the 15-day disabled list.

To clear roster room for Patterson and Cordero, the Nationals optioned outfielder Tyrell Godwin and infielder Brendan Harris back to Class AAA New Orleans. Harris went 3-for-9 in four games with three RBI and homered in his first at-bat after getting recalled from New Orleans last Sunday. Godwin was hitless in three pinch-hit appearances.

Both Patterson and Cordero represent welcome moves for the injury-depleted Nationals. Patterson, who has been one of the season’s biggest surprises with a 2-1 record and a 2.98 ERA, was placed on the 15-day DL on Wednesday retroactive to May 16 with back spasms.

Patterson received three injections in his back to relieve the spasms May 23 in Cincinnati. The third injection left him feeling woozy, and an IV was administered. However, he had a negative reaction to the IV in his wrist on his throwing hand, and the wrist began to swell — postponing his activation for a week.

Patterson said his back isn’t 100 percent but he is ready to go today against Atlanta Braves left-hander Mike Hampton (4-1, 1.96 ERA) at RFK Stadium.

“When I throw, [the back] loosens up, but when I stop, it starts to tighten up again. But it doesn’t seem to cause me any problems when I’m throwing, so I’m going to go with it and see how it feels,” Patterson said.

Cordero’s return gives the Nationals an experienced bat for their thin bench, especially as a pinch hitter late in games. It also means first baseman Nick Johnson can take a day off. Johnson, who is hitting a team-high .317, has played in 50 of the Nationals’ 51 games this season.

The Nationals placed Cordero on the 15-day DL on April 7 with torn cartilage in his right knee. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery during the second week of the season.

“He really puts a bat on the bench, what I call a professional hitter. You feel you’re going to get a good at-bat each time he goes up there, and he knows how to hit in tough situations,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said about Cordero, a career .275 hitter now in his 13th big league season.

Injury updates

Right-hander Jon Rauch will undergo shoulder surgery today at Washington Hospital Center to repair what is believed to be a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

“If it’s what the doctors are saying that it is and the best-case scenario, then that’s definitely a good thing, which means I might be able to pitch by the end of the year,” said Rauch, who is 1-3 with a 4.00 ERA in eight appearances out of the bullpen this season.

Rauch, who opened the season at Class AAA New Orleans, underwent a similar procedure in 2001 while in the Chicago White Sox organization.

“I’ve been through this once already, so I have a pretty good grasp on it,” Rauch said.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t appear the Nationals will have second baseman Jose Vidro back before the All-Star break in July. Dr. Bruce Thomas, the Nationals’ primary physician, re-examined Vidro yesterday and said he will need to wear a walking boot for at least another two weeks and then begin a rehab regime for at least two weeks beyond that to regain his strength, range of motion and baseball skills. Vidro suffered a torn tendon in his left ankle while sliding home May 4 at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“The All-Star break is what we are shooting for, but you never know with V. He could be out there sooner,” Thomas said.

Also, outfielder Ryan Church sat out of his third straight game yesterday with a severely bruised right calf. Church fouled a ball off his calf Friday in St. Louis.

“It feels like a cramp, and it’s not going away,” Church said.

Extra bases

Catcher Brian Schneider left yesterday’s game in the sixth inning when Marcus Giles’ backswing struck the outside of his left hand. Schneider doesn’t expect to miss any games, though the hand was slightly swollen. … Soccer lines were visible for the first time in the infield grass. RFK’s grounds crew had less than 48 hours to convert the stadium back to a baseball facility following D.C. United’s 2-0 loss to FC Dallas on Saturday night.

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