Patterson Completely Healed

Garrett Patterson is finally working out again

When Spring Training rolled around last March left-handed pitcher Garrett Patterson was hoping to put his injury-plagued career behind him, but it didn't take him long to get hurt once again. He broke his foot two weeks into camp and it has only recently completely healed, and now he's looking to bounce back in 2009.

"I am completely healed," Garrett Patterson revealed. "I've been running, I've been lifting, and I've been doing everything I would be doing during the season for about three weeks now."

He broke his foot in a freak accident doing PFP's [pitchers fielding practice] during the early part of Spring Training and when doctors examined the injury they discovered another problem.

"After they went in there and did all of the x-rays they said that I had an old injury, and it ended up being two breaks," he said. "One was supposedly from some other time but I don't ever remember hurting my foot before.

"They put a pin in that fifth metatarsal through both places where it was broken, and that pin fixed both places. I guess I've been walking around with a stress fracture for I don't know how long."

Confused about the older injury they had uncovered, Patterson says he never had any foot problems until he broke it this year.

"We were over there in the ten-pack, which is the big bullpen [at the minor league complex], and we were actually working on squeeze plays at the time," he recounted. "[Tommy Phelps] threw a squeeze to me over to my left, his right, from home plate and when I went to cut that way there was a big lip coming off of the mound.

"My foot got right on top of that lip and when I went to take another step it rolled right over the lip and broke."

The injury required he wear a boot for eight or nine weeks, but when he initially returned he says the soreness remained for an additional two or three weeks until he went back to doctor only to find out the foot was still broken.

At that point it was decided he needed to have surgery to repair the broken foot, but doctors in Tampa were unable to get to the surgery for nearly another month and a half, so he decided to get the procedure done back home in Oklahoma.

He had the surgery on July 1st and the recovery phase required wearing a cast for three weeks followed with another three weeks wearing a boot, virtually ending any hope of stepping on to a mound again this calendar year.

"I was going to go try and play winter ball and time just didn't allow it," he said. "There was no way I could have been healed up soon enough and get my arm back in shape in time.

"I hadn't ran since March and there were just too many things I had to do and not enough time to be able to play this winter."

For Patterson, who had not been able to reach the 60-inning plateau in any of his previous three seasons, it was just another setback in what has become a long litany of injuries.

"I had finally gotten over the blister problems and the finger nail problem, and I was throwing good," he said of his short time in Spring Training. "It was only the second week of Spring Training but all of my [bullpens] were good, I was feeling good and then that happened.

"I was obviously not happy but I've learned from being injured so often, and I've been hurt so much throughout my career, it didn't matter how upset I got, it wasn't going to change anything. It wasn't going to change the situation. I'm just looking it at as, get it fixed, rehab, and try to come back."

If there is a positive spin on Patterson's injury-plagued Yankee career thus far it's the fact he has been able to avoid injuring his arm and thus keeping it fresh.

"The best thing about it is it's not my arm. The best way to look at it is hopefully it'll just add another year to my arm.

"I haven't hurt my arm and so my arm is still good. It's healthy. The best way to look at it is I'm saving pitches on my arm and I'm not having to sit out because my arm's injured."

While that is surely a significant positive, the flip-side of that coin, however, is he continues to miss valuable development time.

"It's frustrating because I need time to get into a groove so I can throw strikes," he said passionately. "I know my biggest thing is just staying inside the strike zone. But in order to stay in the strike zone, I need time.

"I get healthy for a month or two and then something happens. I can't get the right amount of time in order to get feeling comfortable on the mound. It seems like every time I start feeling good on the mound something else happens."

Nobody is frustrated with the injuries more than Patterson himself, but at the same time he knows they have served as incredible motivation for reaching his ultimate goal of pitching in the big leagues.

"Chad, the sports psychologist down in Tampa, just said it'll only make you stronger in the end and it'll only make it that much more worth it. That's what I keep trying to tell myself and I just feel like the only way I can go is up."

The 26-year old realizes his list of skeptics keeps growing with each passing injury and his message to them is to not give up on him because he's not about to give up on himself.

"They're going to have to cut my left arm before I'll stop playing," he said emphatically. "People can say whatever they want. I'm still going to out there next year and play and none of that stuff affects me. In two or three years those people will be my fans, I guarantee it.

"I'm going to make, I guarantee I'll make it. With all of the things I've been through there's no way I'm going to let down until I step on that big league field and step on the mound. Whether I'm 27 when it happens or 34 when it happens, it will happen."

Committed to making it to the big leagues someday, the good news is he's finally healthy again and he has reinforcements on the way to help him on his road back this offseason.

"[Tim] Norton is coming to live with me in the offseason," said Patterson. "It's good because I always have trouble finding somebody to workout with and play catch with. I think him being here is going to help me a lot.

"I think I'll come to Spring Training better prepared just for the simple fact of him being here because I'll have someone here that has to do the same things as me. He's nuts, he'll be working me out."

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