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Notes: Weather has Patterson adjusting

Notes: Weather has Patterson adjusting

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WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander John Patterson is one guy who can't wait for the cold weather to go away. In his last two starts, the temperature has been below 50 degrees. The lowest was 41 degrees on April 8.

Although he has pitched a combined 10 1/3 innings and lowered his ERA from 14.73 to 7.07, Patterson said he has not been himself because of the cold weather. He acknowledged he doesn't care about strikeouts and just wants hitters to hit ground balls so he can get out of innings.

"I tighten up. It's hard not to," Patterson said. "They had the heaters on in the dugout in New York and you get a little moisture in your hands, you warm up a little, but as soon as you walk out on the field, that wind would hit and you start tightening up. You just try to do it with your brain, make good pitches and let the defense work. Strikeouts kind of go out the window. You don't want to walk guys."

Patterson acknowledged he is trying to get his arm strength back and is working on making adjustments to get even better. He missed most of last season because of a pinched nerve in his right forearm.

Patterson looked at video of his best starts Monday and realized he must use the lower half of his body more. He has been using his upper body too much, but he believes he corrected the problem in a bullpen session Monday.

"I'm getting my legs and hips into my delivery. [I've been] using too much upper body and arms. I think a lot of that has to do with the weather," Patterson said. "I'm not real comfortable, but I'm getting there."

Makeup date: Sunday's game between the Mets and Nationals was postponed Sunday because of rain and will be made up July 28 as part of a day-night doubleheader at Shea Stadium. The makeup game will be played at 12:10 p.m. ET.

Injury report: Center fielder Nook Logan and shortstop Cristian Guzman are eligible to come off the disabled list this week, but they are expected to remain on the list for a while. Logan said his strained right foot has improved dramatically, but some soreness remains. Logan said he is wearing shoes and is using the protective boot a lot less.

As for Guzman, his left hamstring is getting better, but he has yet to perform running drills on the field.

After their injuries heal, Logan and Guzman will have rehab assignments in the Minor Leagues.

A tragedy: Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, a Virginia native, was saddened to learn to that 32 people were killed at Virginia Tech by a sniper on Monday afternoon. Zimmerman lives in Virginia Beach, which is 5 1/2 hours away from the campus.

"It's crazy. That stuff can happen anywhere. For it to happen so close, it's tough. Hopefully, we'll get more information soon," Zimmerman said.

Because of the tragedy, the game between Class A Potomac, a Nationals affiliate, and Class A Salem, which is not too far from Virginia Tech, was postponed.

Send in your question: The mailbag appears every Monday. Send in your questions now, and make sure you include "Mailbag" in the subject line.

Stats of the day: Entering Monday's action, The Nationals were 1-6 when they score three runs or less.

Did you know: Since collecting his first Major League RBI, outfielder Kory Casto was mired in a 3-for-19 slump coming into Monday.

Coming up: The Nationals return to RFK Stadium to play the second game of a two-game series against the Braves on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. ET. Washington right-hander Jerome Williams will face Atlanta right-hander John Smoltz.

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

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