Friday, February 09, 2007

NIH: The Comeback Trail 1: John Patterson

Does it seem like I talk about John Patterson more than anyone else in these NIH posts? I'm sure it does. And I'd like to stop, I really would, but that's going to require one thing: John Patterson to have a healthy season.

Last year was an extreme. Working around a pair of extended visits to the DL, Patterson only got enough game time to put up four decisions, only one of which actually went for a win. This season he's coming in to be our staff ace after the loss of most of the other starters from the 2005 season. As of today, he is slated to be on the mound April 2nd as the Nationals start their 2007 campaign.

1-3. That's a lot to worry about. His right forearm was in pain most of last season, and he eventually underwent season ending surgery to relieve pressure on some nerves in his arm. The good news? That's supposed to make everything better. The surgery was one of those magic surgeries, like Tommy John, but better. The pain was relieved, and he got right back into recovering from it, and has declared himself 100% ready for 2007.

I hope so. Patterson is ambitious. He wants to be a starter. He wants to play. He wants to be an ace. His entire career has been an odd one, starting with taking advantage of a drafting loophole when he first entered the league until the point that he fought his way into the 2005 rotation as the #5 starter out of Spring Training.

The problem is, he's always had one label hanging over his head his entire professional career: Injury Prone. 2005 saw him pitch 31 games at the major league level, but that was flanked by seasons where injuries limited him to 19 starts in 2004 and just 8 starts and 40.2 innings in 2006.

There was even a brief, though potentially unsubstantiated rumor that he had retweaked his arm, and might not see action until a month starting in 'J'. Right now there is nothign beyond the initial reporting of the rumor to back that up, so we'll see what happens when pitchers start working out on Thursday. If there's anything to that, it'll show up soon. Hopefully not, though, and hopefully he'll make it through the season in one piece.

Lord knows our rotation is weak enough with him. I hate to think what it'll look like without him.


At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

My money is on JP.


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