JUST PASSING THROUGH TOWN
We’ve all learned by now that the Red Sox are not afraid to pull the trigger on a deal. Any deal that they think will help them win even just one extra game. I’m sure it infuriates some of their minor leaguers, but hey, that’s the business of baseball in Red Sox Nation. Recently they made a couple of acquisitions that I think might be very helpful today and in the long run. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and utility man Eric Patterson.
Today I want to talk about Patterson. He is 27 years old and he’s the fastest guy this side of Jacoby Ellsbury. “That’s not for me to decide. Speed is a big part of my game, as it is his. I just try to keep it simple, find a way to get on base and when I get on, try to wreak havoc, get in scoring position and have the big guys knock me in.”
Patterson was obtained from Oakland in late June as insurance for Dustin Pedroia. Ironically, Eric has wound up on the disabled list as well with a strained neck. “It feels good”. He told me. “No ill effects. I’m able to go out there and swing the bat with no problems, go out on the field with no problems and run the bases with no problems. It’s been positive. I’m just looking forward to playing and getting back up to Boston to help.” Although not in Boston, Patterson has been happy to help the PawSox during their current winning streak, with offense, defense and speed to burn. “I am absolutely happy to help. Being on a rehab assignment the biggest thing for me is going out and playing my game and doing the things that I’ll be called upon to do when I’m in Boston. For me, that’s getting on base, stealing bases and scoring runs. For me to be able to get out there and contribute, it helps. A lot of times when guys are on rehab assignments, they are just trying to take care of themselves. I get it. These guys have worked hard all year and if I can help, it doesn’t matter what level I’m at. I’m trying to win too.”
It seems as if the curse of the Bambino has returned this year, as the injury bug has bitten the Sox hard and quite often. Patterson is no exception. Before he strained his neck, he appeared in 29 games with Boston, hitting .254 (17-67) with 2 home runs and 6 rbi. “It’s frustrating, but at the same time, injuries happen. You have to keep a positive attitude, work hard to come back and when you return you want to contribute and not miss a beat. That’s why it’s important to get my timing and rhythm back down here and when I get back, I’ll be ready. I’m looking forward to it.”
Patterson was an 8th round pick of the Cubs back in 2004 after an All-American career at Georgia Tech. He’s played for both the Cubs and A’s before Boston and as a result has friends on the Pawtucket roster. “Rich Hill and Gerald Perry. I was with those guys over in Chicago. I was a little behind Rich in Chicago. I spent a lot of time with him. He’s a great guy. He has great ‘stuff’. For him, it’s a matter of getting in his innings down here and getting another Big League opportunity. With Gerald, I worked with him when he was the hitting coach with the Cubs. He is really easy to work with.” Patterson also has a friend from his Oakland days at McCoy. “Jack Hannahan and I spent time together in Oakland and in the minor leagues. Jack is just a guy who’s going to come to the ballpark and get after it every day. He’s a great teammate. It’s always nice to see familiar faces no matter where you are. It makes you feel welcome.”
Eric Patterson is the younger brother of Orioles outfielder Corey Patterson. Eric says the two didn’t necessarily share the dream of becoming Big Leaguers as kids, but he admits to emulating him, whenever he could. “I think people always ask why I got into baseball. I saw he had fun doing it, so I got into it. The biggest thing I got from growing up in the same household with him was the work ethic. He was a big time football prospect in high school and I recall him coming home from two a day practices and going straight to the batting cages to hit. The hard work that he’s put in has helped me out, too. Now our relationship..we try to keep it as light as possible. We’re so consumed with baseball, day in, day out. When we talk, it’s more about how we’re doing, what’s going on in your life other than baseball. We can always check boxscores for the baseball stuff. It’s the other things that we miss out on that we try to catch up on.”
Not sure if it’s over for the Red Sox, but I am sure Eric Patterson can help.