Monday, June 25, 2007

With John Patterson and Shawn Hill both seeking more medical opinions on their injured pitching arms, the Washington Nationals will have to press on with a patchwork rotation.

Even with right-hander Jason Bergmann due back tonight for a start in Atlanta, three of the club”s five starters are different from the beginning of the season. Left-handers Mike Bacsik and Micah Bowie and yesterday’s starter, right-hander Jason Simontacchi, have joined rookie lefty Matt Chico and Bergmann.

Patterson, out with right elbow soreness, plans to see three to four doctors this week because of ongoing nerve irritation. He will visit John Conway in the Dallas area today and Lewis Yocum tomorrow in Los Angeles. He added he will see one or two other doctors later in the week, but those plans had not been finalized.

“Only he knows how he feels, and it’s kind of sad because I know the kid wants to be out there,” Nationals manager Manny Acta said. “We’d like to have him, but right now he’s going to get all of those different opinions and I hope the best for him. I’m just very thankful of those three guys that have stepped in and given us a chance for two months now.”

Said Patterson: “I just wanted to see a couple more doctors with different sets of eyes, let them see what they see, if they can pick up anything on the MRI or anything like that.”

Patterson, 1-5 with a 7.47 ERA in 311/3 innings, has not pitched for Washington since May 5. Hill, 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA in 50 innings, has been out since May 11 and will see James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., today because of recurring pain in his right elbow.

Roster shuffle

Bergmann’s activation — and the corresponding optioning of reliever Chris Schroder to Class AAA Columbus — immediately after the game was only the beginning of Washington’s roster carousel yesterday.

Nearly 90 minutes after the game, shortstop Cristian Guzman was put on the 15-day disabled list with a left thumb ligament sprain suffered when he slapped Cleveland second baseman Josh Barfield on the helmet while applying a tag on a stolen base attempt in the fifth inning. The club is expected to add infielder D’Angelo Jimenez to the roster today.

In addition, reliever Jesus Colome was placed on the 15-day disabled list with what was described as a soft tissue infection in his right lower extremity, and Schroder was added to the roster again after a demotion of about an hour.

Speigner stays in system

The Nationals worked out a trade with the Minnesota Twins so they could keep Rule 5 draftee Levale Speigner in their organization. The right-hander was outrighted to Columbus after being traded for 28-year-old Columbus outfielder Darnell McDonald.

Speigner, 26, was 2-3 with an 8.78 ERA in 40 innings over 19 games (six starts) for Washington.

When Speigner was designated for assignment last week, he had to be offered back to the Twins. Minnesota accepted and then made the deal.

Extra bases

Center fielder Brandon Watson, who had batted eighth in his first three games since being called up from Columbus, was in the second spot yesterday. Regular No. 2 hitter Felipe Lopez had the day off.

“I’m pretty much just going to go out and do the same things I’ve been doing,” said Watson, who had two hits in each of the first two games of the series against Cleveland but went 1-for-4 yesterday. …

Acta said utility man Robert Fick, on the bereavement list since Wednesday after the death of his mother, might join the team today or tomorrow in Atlanta.

Staff writer Patrick Stevens contributed to this article.

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