- The Washington Times - Monday, September 12, 2005

Washington Nationals pitcher John Patterson might miss his scheduled start tomorrow in New York with a sinus infection.

If Patterson can’t pitch against the Mets, manager Frank Robinson said he’ll probably start Friday’s game against San Diego.

“He’s scheduled to pitch on Tuesday, and the rumor is that he feels like he won’t be able to go until Friday,” Robinson said.

Patterson (8-5, 2.74 ERA) developed his sinus problem Thursday before his start against the Florida Marlins. The tall right-hander lasted just 42/3 innings and allowed seven runs on nine hits.

If Patterson’s start is pushed back it would complicate the Nationals’ already tenuous rotation. With no reliable fourth or fifth starter, Robinson has adopted a four-man rotation for the duration of the National League wild-card race.

Patterson, Livan Hernandez and Esteban Loaiza give the Nationals their best chance of winning games. Patterson stayed home yesterday and was unavailable for comment.

Robinson may have to use a combination of relievers for tomorrow’s game. Eight pitchers, including starter Jason Bergmann, were used in yesterday’s game. No pitcher tossed more than two innings.

“I’m not worried about it — it takes care of itself,” Robinson said. “We’ll have to deal with that when it comes. I have [today] to think about this.”

Zimmerman delivers

Rookie Ryan Zimmerman provided what looked like the game-winning hit in the eighth inning when he singled to left to drive in Rick Short and give the Nationals a 7-6 lead. But the Braves answered with three runs in the ninth en route to the victory.

Zimmerman, who started at third base in place of Vinny Castilla, went 2-for-4 with a double. His RBI came against reliever Chris Reitsma.

“He started me off with a curveball and then went fastball down.” said Zimmerman, the fourth overall pick in June’s draft. “He made a good pitch — a changeup on the outside corner — that I took, and then he tried to come back in hard. He jammed me a little bit. With two strikes, you can’t really guess a pitch, especially in that situation. You just have to react.”

Another first for Short

Yesterday’s game marked the first major league start for Short, who played second base and was 1-for 3 with a home run and two runs scored. But Short, who spent 12 years in the minors, was charged with an error when he couldn’t handle Rafael Furcal’s grounder in the sixth inning.

“Obviously, you go out there and [try to] make the plays and try to have Frank gain confidence in you and just let him know that you can play here,” Short said.

Johnson is back

First baseman Nick Johnson, who sat out the last seven games with a bruised right heel, went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI.

“[The heel is] not going to get better until the end of the year. I’m glad to be back out there, and we’ll just have to deal with it,” Johnson said.

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