3/16/2008 11:47:00 PM

Hawkins, Farnsworth, Rivera...Patterson?

Posted by Mark McCray |

Article Courtesy of Tyler Kepner of the New York Times (edited for length):

It was not the best way to pave a path to the major leagues. It was painful, and purely accidental. But when Scott Patterson jammed his right middle finger in a door three years ago, it turned his career around.scottpatterson

Patterson, a 6-foot-6 right-hander with a herky-jerky motion, said he did not have enough polished pitches to thrive as a starter. But when his swollen finger forced him to the bullpen, he concentrated on his fastball and his slow curveball, which he says he has always thrown for strikes.

After posting a 1.09 E.R.A. in 43 games at Trenton, Patterson was promoted to Class AAA and pitched once in the playoffs. In the Venezuelan winter league, he did not allow a run or a walk in his first 13 appearances.

“He’s made enough of an impression that we think he’ll help us at some point this season,” General Manager Brian Cashman said. “We don’t know where he’ll start, but he’s still here.”

Patterson has been summoned four times this spring training, usually in the middle of an early inning, before the regulars had been taken from the opposing lineup. In six games, he has allowed no runs or walks in six innings, and opposing hitters are 1 for 18.

In the Yankees’ 7-6 victory against Cleveland on Sunday, Patterson took over for Chien-Ming Wang with one out in the fifth. He got Victor Martínez to bounce into an inning-ending double play, then worked a 1-2-3 sixth.

“All he’s done is get everybody out,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s been pretty unbelievable. He’s gotten us out of jam after jam. He has a chance.”

Ian Kennedy even calls Patterson's fastball "the InvisiBall" because "nobody can hit it". 

Mediocre as a starter, Patterson has been remarkable in relief. In 70 minor league games in the Yankees organization, all but one at Class AA Trenton, he was 4-3 with a 1.47 earned run average and 136 strikeouts in 116 innings.

When it comes to where Patterson will start the season he replies, “People ask me all the time, ‘Do you think you’re going to make it?"

“I tell them I’ll get the guys out. And if the Yankees want me, they want me.”

For years, no major league team wanted Scott Patterson. Two weeks before opening day, will the New York Yankees?

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