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04/14/08 9:00 PM ET

Texas pleased with Patterson's progress

Injured righty says he could be game-ready by next week

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers flew injured right-hander John Patterson in from extended Spring Training on Monday to check his progress. Pitching coach Mark Connor watched Patterson pitch, and liked what he saw.

"He's really making progress," Connor said. "We're excited."

Texas signed Patterson to a Minor League contract after the Washington Nationals released him during Spring Training. His fastball barely exceeded 80 mph in Florida. He had made just 15 starts during the previous two seasons because of nerve problems in his right arm that necessitated surgery twice.

That was just the latest in a series of injuries for Patterson. The 25-year-old underwent Tommy John elbow ligament reconstruction surgery in 2000 before he reached the Majors, and since has missed time because of thumb, groin, back, biceps and forearm injuries.

Patterson also was encouraged.

"I'm going to start throwing in games in a week or so," he said. "The first couple will be in extended spring until I get innings built up."

Connor wasn't as certain of that timetable.

"Hopefully," he said, when asked if Patterson could be game-ready in a week. "He's got to get his arm built up. He'll have some bullpen sessions, then start spinning his curveball before he can get in game situations in Arizona. Once he can throw five innings, we'll send him into Minor League games."

Patterson signed with Texas in part because Connor had been his pitching coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2002-03.

"Goose [Connor] put my mechanics back where they were," Patterson said. "When my arm started hurting, I developed some bad habits."

Said Connor: "We made a couple of little tweaks here and there, but he's the same guy I remember from when we were in Arizona. He's had success pitching in the big leagues, and he's on the right path. We're excited about it."

Lary Bump is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.