Notes: Season over for two Nationals

Notes: Season over for two Nationals

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander John Patterson and outfielder Alex Escobar are out for the season because of injuries.

Patterson will have surgery to remove scar tissue in his upper arm, while Escobar will go under the knife to repair damage in his right ankle. The surgeries will take place during the next seven to 10 days.

For Patterson, it marks the second consecutive season in which his season ended with an injury. He missed most of 2006 because of nerve problems in his right forearm. This year, besides the scar tissue, Patterson has had nerve problems near the right elbow and biceps.

Patterson has seemingly tried everything to fix the problems, including spending 18 days in Toronto trying to get rid of the nerve problems in his biceps and elbow. While in Toronto, Patterson dealt with chiropractors, spent time in a hyperbaric chamber, had homeopathic injections and was treated with lasers and frequency-specific microcurrents.

Patterson came back to the U.S. saying that he felt a lot better, but he started to feel pain last week when trying to throw in a simulated game.

For the season, Patterson pitched in only seven games and went 1-5 with a 7.47 ERA. But he is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for Spring Training.

"I tried everything I could not to have surgery. I explored every option," Patterson said. "I think the surgery itself is not a major surgery. It's not a structural problem. It's not like it's Tommy John [elbow ligament replacement] surgery.

"I'm ready to put all this behind me. It has been the most challenging and frustrating thing I ever dealt with. I've had some injuries before, but this is unbelievably frustrating."

As for Escobar, he hasn't played a game since Aug. 16, 2006, when he separated his right shoulder against the Braves. Escobar was still recovering from the injury when the 2007 season started, but he recovered from that injury by the All-Star break. But during a rehab stint, Escobar hurt his ankle.

The manager speaks: As promised, manager Manny Acta held a team meeting before Friday's game against the Giants, but according to pitchers Shawn Hill and Ray King, it had little to do with the Nationals' six-game losing streak.

Acta wanted to remind his players not to lose focus and to remember that the have already accomplished more than anyone expected. Many experts believed the Nationals could challenge records for futility, but they already have 58 victories entering Friday's action.

Acta was going to wait to have his speech on Saturday when callups were made following the baseball-wide expansion of rosters, but he changed his mind figuring that the Minor Leaguers would be excited and not lose focus.

"He said, 'Don't hold your head down; don't get discouraged. Go out and keep playing the game the way you are playing. Finish strong because nobody remembers what you did in April and May. Everybody remembers what you did in September.'" King said.

Johnson in great spirits: A little over a week after having hip surgery to remove a rod and screw, first baseman Nick Johnson was spotted in the Nationals' clubhouse Friday in great spirits. He said his right hip is sore, but that is to be expected. Johnson, who is supposed to be using one crutch but has been walking on his own power, is expected to leave the Nationals in a week to rehab in Sacramento, Calif., his hometown, for the rest of the year.

Injury report: Second baseman Ronnie Belliard was examined by doctors Thursday, and it was determined he has fluid in his inner ear, which caused the dizziness that caused him to leave Tuesday's game in Los Angeles in the eighth inning. Belliard was in the starting lineup against the Giants on Friday night.

Minor League news: The Nationals' Instructional League workouts start Sept. 17, and the games will begin Sept. 22. Prospects such as outfielders Michael Burgess and Mike Daniel and pitchers Glenn Gibson and Colton Willems will be among the participants.

Stat of the day: Thus far, the Nationals have had one winning month this season, and that came in July, when they went 14-12.

Did you know? Reliever Saul Rivera faced 305 batters from April 24 to Aug. 29 without giving up a home run.

Coming up: The Nationals play the second game of a three-game series Giants on Saturday night at 7:05 ET. Washington right-hander Joel Hanrahan will face San Francisco left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.

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