PITTSBURGH -- Washington Nationals right-hander John
Patterson, out for nearly two months with a slow-to-heal nerve
injury in his right elbow, is seeking treatment on his own in
Toronto that apparently isn't approved in the United States.
After visiting four different doctors in Missouri, Texas and
California last week -- a trip Patterson himself arranged to learn
what is causing the problem -- Patterson will undergo a series of
injections in Canada, according to the Nationals.
Asked why his Opening Day starter is going out of the country
for medical treatment, Nationals manager Manny Acta said Saturday,
"It's because that treatment is not approved here in the States
Patterson and his agent made the decision to seek the
unspecified treatment. The team would not elaborate on what type of
injections the right-hander would receive or why he couldn't get
them from a team physician or another doctor in the United States.
"The treatment is based on shots, injections," Acta said.
"Until he's done with all that treatment, we don't know" what
will happen next with Patterson.
With Patterson's course of treatment apparently not working -- he
has not had surgery -- the team apparently is willing to let him
seek additional options that might hasten his recovery and allow
him to pitch again this season.
Acta expects Patterson to return this season, but has no idea
when. Patterson started the season with a 1-5 record and 7.47 ERA
in seven games, but hasn't pitched since May 5.
Patterson was pain-free after recently making two rehabilitation
starts at Class A Potomac but, following a throwing session a week
ago in Washington, he said his arm still didn't feel right.
Patterson then went on his doctors tour and, according to Acta,
all of those consulted agreed with the previous diagnosis of a
compressed nerve in the elbow.
"I'm expecting him to come back, I just don't know when," Acta
said. "We'll go along with what we have here -- I don't know if
he's going to come back. I'm just going with what I have."
Patterson, 29, is 18-25 with a 4.32 ERA in 88 games with the
Diamondbacks, Expos and Nationals since debuting with Arizona in
2002. He had half of his career victories in 2005, going 9-7 with a
3.13 ERA with Washington.
Major leaguers haven't always gone along with conventional
treatments for injuries. In 2004, outfielder Magglio Ordonez went
to Austria to undergo shock wave therapy -- a treatment once used
only for kidney stones -- on an injured knee.