- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Washington Nationals acquired minor league first baseman/outfielder Andrew Lefave from the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday as the player to be named from the Ray King trade earlier this month.

Lefave, 23, hit .345 with 17 homers and 79 RBI for Class A West Virginia this season, winning the South Atlantic League batting title, and projects to be a power-hitting first baseman or left fielder.

“He plays the game hard,” Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said. “He’s the kind of player you want at the plate with the game on the line and a runner in scoring position.”

Lefave is a bit of a late bloomer, having only signed with the Brewers as a non-drafted free agent in 2006 after attending Missouri Valley College. But in his limited time as a professional ballplayer, the 5-foot-10, 205-pound left-handed hitter has made quite an impression with a .347 overall batting average and .431 on-base percentage.

He’ll likely start next season at either high Class A Potomac or Class AA Harrisburg, though at his advanced age, he might be pressed for time to work his way up the system.

“Like [outfielder Justin] Maxwell, sometimes they get a late start,” Bowden said. “So I guess you could call them late bloomers. If you can hit, you can hit.”

Patterson has surgery

John Patterson had surgery yesterday morning to decompress the radial nerve in his throwing arm, and the right-hander could resume throwing in November.

During a one-hour procedure at the Duke Medical Center in Durham, N.C., orthopedist David Ruch uncoiled several veins that had wrapped around the primary nerve in Patterson’s right arm. That web of veins had compressed the nerve, causing a shooting pain down the pitcher’s arm that first landed him on the disabled list in early May.

“We are excited about the surgery,” Bowden said. “The outlook looks good. Clearly, there was a major problem that had to be resolved.”

The Nationals now hope to see Patterson throw off a mound in November and possibly during winter ball, all of which would help the club decide whether to bring the 29-year-old back next year. Patterson has made only 15 starts over the last two seasons, going a combined 2-7 with a 5.75 ERA.

With Patterson eligible once again for arbitration, the Nationals could decide not to tender him a contract and part ways with their Opening Day starter.

“I would love for John Patterson to reach his potential, and if he reaches it, I would obviously prefer it be with us,” Bowden said. “We’ve got to get him healthy. … We have time to be able to get him on the mound, hopefully by November, so we can kind of see where he is when decisions need to be made.”

Extra bases

Right-hander Tim Redding threw in the bullpen yesterday, reported no problems with his bruised elbow and said he hopes to start Monday night against the New York Mets.

Redding, who was struck in the arm by a batted ball on Sept. 5, said he still has a bit of swelling but nothing that prevents him from throwing free and easy.

“The arm felt fine,” he said. “If I don’t have anything pop up in the next two days, then everything’s moving forward for me to start on Monday night.” …

Left-hander Micah Bowie will have season-ending surgery to repair a sports hernia. Bowie spent two months on the DL with an injury to his left hip and had to be shut down after making only two appearances upon his return.

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