- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 29, 2006

ST. LOUIS — The Washington Nationals placed right-hander John Patterson on the 15-day disabled list with a strained forearm, a significant blow to their already-makeshift pitching staff.

Patterson, who has been dealing with the injury for nearly a month now and has not pitched since April 21, was put on the DL retroactive to April 22, making him eligible to return as soon as next week.

The Nationals, though, already have mapped out a rehabilitation schedule for Patterson, one that won’t have him back pitching in the major leagues until May 13. The club plans to have him pitch in an extended spring training game in Florida on Wednesday, then at Class A Potomac on May 8.

Though Washington could “desperately use Patterson in its rotation, general manager Jim Bowden said it was more important to get the injury completely healed.

“Our responsibility is to take care of him for the long-term, not just today, tomorrow or the next day,” Bowden said. “We need him for the long run, the next three, four, five years.”

Patterson had pitched well even with the forearm strain, going 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four starts this season. But he said the tightness affected his ability to throw breaking balls and thus made him less effective than he could be.

“It’s been a month, and it wasn’t getting better,” Patterson said. “This was a mutual decision between me and the team to get this thing fixed and taken care of and be healthy for the rest of the season. This is something we want done so that I can finish the year with a good, strong five months.”

Day game tomorrow?

Patterson’s addition to the DL opened a roster spot for right-hander Zach Day, who officially joined the Nationals yesterday after getting claimed off waivers from the Colorado Rockies.

Day threw a bullpen session in the afternoon in front of Bowden, manager Frank Robinson, assistant GM Tony Siegle and pitching coach Randy St. Claire and looked good enough to possibly get the start in tomorrow’s series finale against the Cardinals.

“His ball had real good action to it,” St. Claire said. “His arm strength was there. He looks like he’s healthy and ready to go.”

Designated for assignment by Colorado on April 21, Day had complained of right shoulder pain. But he was examined by Cincinnati orthopedic specialist Tim Kremchek and was told he only had spasms. Day, who posted a 10.80 ERA in three starts with the Rockies before getting released, said he felt fine during his bullpen session yesterday and sounded encouraged about resurrecting his career with the Nationals.

“[The shoulder] is fine,” he said. “I don’t foresee it being a problem.”

Day, 27, never expected he would don a Washington uniform again after he was traded last July for outfielder Preston Wilson. He departed last year with a somewhat strained relationship with the organization, but was all smiles yesterday as he reintroduced himself to everyone in the clubhouse.

“No, [returning to the Nationals] wasn’t even really something that crossed my mind,” Day said. “I got back home, I was relaxing, and I didn’t really think about it too much. I knew I’d get a chance, wherever it was.”

Extra bases

Reliever Gary Majewski entered the game with a 4.96 ERA and said he attributes his struggles to a lack of confidence on the mound. “I know my stuff’s good enough,” he said. “It’s just the past few times out, I’ve had a mental lapse. That’s pretty much all there is to it.” …

Pedro Astacio, on the DL with a strained right forearm, threw a simulated game Thursday but still hasn’t shown he’s ready to start a rehabilitation assignment. …

Shortstop Cristian Guzman went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts yesterday in an extended spring training game against the Cardinals. Guzman remains on the DL with a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder….

Center fielder Ryan Church left last night’s game in the sixth inning after suffering from flu-like symptoms. He was replaced by Marlon Byrd.

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