PHILADELPHIA -- The original plan was for the Reds to have center fielder Corey Patterson at Triple-A Louisville longer to fix his swing. Ryan Freel's right hamstring injury on Tuesday made Patterson's return a necessity. He was recalled on Wednesday after Freel was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a partial tear in his distal hamstring tendon. An MRI exam revealed the injury but no timetable for a return was given. Freel collapsed to the ground in the sixth inning of Tuesday's 3-2 loss while trying to run out a ground ball to the shortstop. He immediately hobbled back to the clubhouse.
"You knew it was something serious for him to react like that," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I've seen the reaction many times." Enter Patterson, who was optioned to Louisville on May 28 after a deep hitting funk. He was batting .200 with four home runs, 13 RBIs and a .240 on-base percentage in 45 games -- including 29 starts. "I'm just going to urge him to start his season over from this point, regardless of what the average says up on the board," Baker said. "Let's see what you can do from this point forward." Patterson's short stay at Louisville wasn't misspent. In five games with the Bats, he was 9-for-22 (.409) with three multihit games. "In this game, day in and day out, you have to make the proper adjustments and you move on," Patterson said. "You have to put things behind you and always look ahead, whether you do good or bad, it's a new day." Patterson, who started Wednesday's game vs. the Phillies and batted second, dispelled a notion that he asked Baker to send him down last week after an 0-for-18 skid that included an 0-for-8 in an 18-inning game at San Diego. "I just went to talk to him, but it wasn't about how things were working out," Patterson said. "Never once did I ask to be optioned out or anything. To me, that sounds kind of silly." With Freel down, Patterson was the only real option to come up despite his rough-looking numbers this season. Outfield depth was already thin with Ken Griffey Jr. missing three starts with a sore right knee. The Reds also lacked speed without Freel. Baker preferred to keep utility player Andy Phillips in the infield. Shortstop Jerry Hairston Jr. can play center field, which would have opened up a spot for rookie shortstop Paul Janish. Other options in the Minors were also limited. "Corey gives me the same things I need from before -- speed, defense and in this little ballpark, he can hit the ball out," Baker said.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.