Podsednik's pain is Patterson's gain

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:31 PM ET

BRADENTON, Fla. — No player likes to benefit from another’s misfortune but that’s the way it’s shaking down for veteran outfielder Corey Patterson.

The Jays need one backup outfielder who can play centre field as well as the corner spots for the outfield trio of Travis Snider, Rajai Davis and either Juan Rivera or Jose Bautista.

The Jays’ first choice was veteran Scott Podsednik but he has been hobbled all spring by plantar fasciitis and on Tuesday had a cast placed on his left foot to immobilize the foot for 10 days. Not only is it unlikely that he can open the season for the Blue Jays but his career could be in jeopardy.

That opens the door for the 31-year-old Patterson.

“Injuries are part of the game,” said Patterson, who last year hit .269 with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 90 games (308 at bats) for the Orioles. “You hate to see people get opportunities due to injuries, you never wish that anybody gets hurt but unfortunately that’s part of the game. I’m not taking anything for granted and even still, anything can happen so I intend to keep working hard and we’ll see how things work out.”

Like the injured Podsednik, Patterson’s game is built on speed as last year in 90 games with Baltimore he logged 21 stolen bases. His career high is 45 set in 2004 with the Cubs. A left-handed hitter, he keeps speed atop the lineup if he fills in for Davis and adds speed replacing either Snider or Rivera.

“Obviously there was no secret last year that these guys were hitting the ball out of the park,” Patterson said. “In the off-season and spring training they (led by manager John Farrell) were saying that if they could get some guys on base just a little bit more there could be more ways to manufacture runs, especially in this division where there’s so much good pitching.

“Sometimes the hitters are going to get shut down and those days you have to win the close games 3-2, 4-3 by getting on, a single and a couple of stolen bases. If a guy can get a key hit it’s another way to score runs.”


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