09/19/07 9:11 PM ET
Notes: Peace of mind for Patterson
MRI reveals nothing serious in center fielder's ailing ankle
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
The Orioles' center fielder returned to the team on Wednesday after undergoing an MRI on his sprained left ankle, an ailment that has kept him out of the lineup for two weeks. He doesn't know when he'll play again, but at least he knows that the doctors couldn't find anything wrong.
"It's been bothering me for a couple of weeks now, but everything's cool and it's not anything too serious. It's good to know," Patterson said. "I had the MRI, and the doctors said it's day-to-day. He said if I feel anything at all -- the least bit -- don't keep running on it."
The Orioles have been trying to decide whether it's worth pushing Patterson to return to the field, but they think he should be able to play again because he's been able to take batting practice during his time away from the lineup. He just hasn't been able to run the bases, and his running ability is a major part of why he's Baltimore's center fielder and regular No. 2 hitter.
Patterson has been surprised by how long the injury has taken to heal -- but only because it's been classified as day-to-day the entire time. A former football player, Patterson knows that ankle injuries can be unpredictable.
"There's really not much swelling on it," he said. "But once you know what's going on, you kind of feel better. Even though it didn't have much swelling, I knew it was still bothering me, so I thought something was off a little bit."
Crooked numbers: The Orioles had a 7.37 ERA for September entering Wednesday's game, a number that carries a historic connotation. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the highest monthly ERA by any Major League team since the Philadelphia A's put up a 7.50 mark in July 1939.
The Orioles have allowed 10 or more runs in 16 games this season, and eight of those instances have come in their last 27 games. Baltimore has given up at least five runs in an inning 22 times, with 12 coming over the same 27 games. The O's have also been outscored, 232-121, in that span, and perhaps as a result, they're 6-21 in those games.
"We've got to stay away from the big inning," manager Dave Trembley said of facing the Yankees. "With the way these guys are swinging the bat and the lineup that they have -- as we've seen -- they have every capability of putting up runs quickly and in bunches. We don't have the firepower to match with that. We have to do it with pitching and trying to produce some runs ourselves."
Trembley shuffled his lineup in an effort to facilitate his offense on Wednesday, slotting veterans Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada in the second and third spots. That's where the two infielders batted for most of last season, but Tejada has mostly hit in the cleanup spot this season. If nothing else, Trembley just wants to change things for the sake of change.
"I just want to try and get them going," he said. "Let's get Tejada up in the first inning, batting third. Let's just mix it up and see if we can jump-start us a little bit."
Just the facts: Thirty-two of Baltimore's last 64 losses have been by two runs or fewer. The Orioles also have the most one-run losses (28) and fewest one-run wins (11) of any team in the Majors.
Quotable: "This is our last time in Yankee Stadium. Let's go out on a real good note, and let's play a much better ballgame than we've played the [last] two games." -- Trembley, on his hopes for Wednesday
Coming up: The Orioles will take on the Rangers in the opener of a four-game series on Thursday at 8:05 p.m. ET in Texas. Victor Zambrano (0-2, 7.98 ERA) will make his first start for Baltimore, and he'll be matched up against Brandon McCarthy (5-10, 5.07).
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.