Notes: Patterson's return delayed

Nationals notes: Patterson return delayed

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander John Patterson was hoping to be activated from the disabled list and pitch against the Yankees on Saturday, but after talking to general manager Jim Bowden, Patterson decided to throw one more rehab assignment for Class A Potomac on Saturday. He is expected to throw six innings or 90 pitches.

The outing will give Patterson a chance to work on his breaking ball -- the curveball in particular -- which was rusty on Monday.

"After a meeting with [manager] Frank [Robinson], [pitching coach] Randy St. Claire and myself, and based on how we restricted his pitch count in his outing [on Monday], we all agreed that at least one more rehab start is appropriate," Bowden said. "I then had a meeting with John Patterson in my office at RFK. He understood and agreed with the decision."

Patterson last pitched on Monday for Triple-A New Orleans. He pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up two runs -- one earned -- against Iowa. Patterson threw 76 pitches -- 48 of them went for strikes. Patterson said he didn't feel any pain in the forearm.

"The outing went good. I felt good, I felt strong," Patterson said. "We had some real long innings. We scored a lot of runs, which was a lot of fun to watch. It was good, because it gave me long innings. I had to sit and get back up, and every time I got back up, I felt good. As the game went along, I got stronger."

Patterson, on the disabled list because of a right forearm strain, is expected to pitch for the big club on June 23 against the Orioles. It will be his first big-league action since April 21 against the Braves.

"Things are going well right now. As much I would like to pitch against the Yankees, one more start [in Potomac] is probably the smart play," Patterson said. "You get in a situation where you [might] put some stress in the bullpen. That's something I don't want to do. I don't want to hurt the team in any way. As comfortable as I'm feeling right now, the smart thing to do is have one more rehab start. When I come back, I can go 100 pitches and help this ballclub."

Patterson's rehab stint means that right-hander Shawn Hill will get at least two more starts before being taken out of the rotation. He is expected to pitch against the Yankees on Friday and again on June 21 against the Red Sox.

Injury report: The Nationals played with 24 men on Tuesday because outfielder/first baseman Daryle Ward was sent home with the flu. He is listed as day to day.

Right-hander Pedro Astacio, on the disabled list because of a right forearm strain, was recalled from his rehab start and sent to Arlington, Texas, to see Dr. Keith Meister, the Rangers' physician. Astacio is still having problems with the forearm and has yet to pitch this season.

Second baseman Jose Vidro left Tuesday's game after six innings because of a bruised chest on his right side. He is listed as day to day.

Vidro hurt his chest after making a leaping backhanded catch off the bat of Jamey Carroll to lead off the top of the sixth inning. Vidro landed on his chest hard and it looked like he got the wind knocked out of him.

Vidro also hurt his chin in a collision with Garrett Atkins in the second inning, but he stayed in the game.

Is there hope? Center fielder Marlon Byrd is in a 9-for-47 (.191) slump, and Robinson wonders if Byrd will ever get out of it. The right-handed-hitting Byrd has a lot of flaws in his swing. He often has problems swing at the high fastball.

"To get him to where I think he needs to be you would have to break him down and start over from step one," Robinson said. "That's very difficult to do to for a Major League guy who's battling for survival."

Robinson said he is going to stick with Byrd -- for now -- because he doesn't have a better alternative. Robinson is hoping that Byrd works with a hitting coach on his mechanics during the offseason.

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Stat of the day: Entering Tuesday's action, Ryan Zimmerman is hitting .292 (40-for-137) in his last 36 games.

Did you know: Nick Johnson and Alfonso Soriano have played in all 66 games this season for the Nationals.

Coming up: The Nationals play the third game of a four-game series against the Rockies on Wednesday night.

Right-hander Tony Armas Jr. will get the start for Washington, while right-hander Byung-Hyun Kim gets the nod for Colorado.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.