- The Washington Times - Friday, July 21, 2006

The Washington Nationals placed Jose Guillen on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with a sore right elbow, a severe blow to the team’s chances of trading the struggling right fielder by the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

Guillen, who had to be removed from Tuesday night’s game against the Florida Marlins, will be examined in Birmingham, Ala., Monday by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. Andrews will make a recommendation on treatment at that point; surgery has not been ruled out.

Either way, Guillen won’t be eligible to come off the DL until Aug. 3, three days after baseball’s traditional trading period expires. Players can still be dealt after that, but they must first pass through waivers.

The Nationals had been shopping Guillen around, hoping to find a willing trade partner in the next 10 days. The market for a 30-year-old hitting .216 with nine homers and 40 RBI this season was already minimal to begin with, but the New York Yankees had shown some interest.

It’s doubtful Washington will find any takers for Guillen now, at least not until he proves he can come back healthy and contribute.

This latest injury first appeared a few weeks ago, when Guillen said he felt a “pop” in his elbow while trying to make a throw to the plate. He appeared to aggravate it during the first inning of Tuesday’s game in Miami when he made a wild throw between the plate and third base. He remained in the game for two more innings but was removed before the bottom of the third after his elbow swelled up considerably.

Guillen didn’t play Wednesday, underwent an MRI in South Florida and didn’t return to the District with the club.

The Nationals plan to fill his roster spot today by purchasing the contract of utilityman Melvin Dorta from Class AA Harrisburg. Dorta, 24, is hitting .277 with four homers, 24 RBI and 25 stolen bases. More importantly, the natural shortstop is capable of playing every position on the field, which should alleviate the Nationals’ recent dearth of backup infielders.

Patterson has surgery

Pitcher John Patterson underwent successful surgery yesterday on his right forearm, and the club said the right-hander could be back within four to six weeks.

Patterson said on Wednesday he expected to miss 2½ months, which would include the remainder of the season. He’s due to be in a splint for a week before beginning range of motion and strength exercises. Whether he returns to pitch in the major leagues this year is still debatable: Manager Frank Robinson has said he would not let Patterson pitch unless he was 100 percent healthy.

During yesterday’s 75-minute operation, team orthopedist Ben Shaffer and hand consultant Richard Barth released several areas of constriction within the median nerve in Patterson’s throwing arm. They also released the lacertus fibrosis, an expansion of the biceps tendon. The procedure should alleviate the pain Patterson had been experiencing all season when trying to extend his arm on his follow-through.

Patterson has made eight starts this season, sandwiched around a two-month stint on the DL, going 1-2 with a 4.43 ERA.

LeCroy released

The Nationals gave Matt LeCroy his unconditional release, three days after designating the backup first baseman/catcher for assignment.

LeCroy had been removed from Washington’s roster on Monday after hitting .239 with two homers and nine RBI in 39 games. The club told him it would try to trade him to an American League contender, but would grant his release if no viable offers were extended.

Got a question about the Nats? Mark Zuckerman has the answers. To submit a question, go to the https://www.washingtontimes.com/sports>Sports Page

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