08/27/2004 4:08 PM ET
Notes: Hollandsworth back in cast
Cubs hopeful outfielder can return despite leg injury
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Todd Hollandsworth's right leg is back in a cast and immobilized, but Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker is optimistic the outfielder will still be able to play this season.
|Todd Hollandsworth can throw and hit, but can't run because of the pain in his leg. (Pat Sullivan/AP)
Hollandsworth has been sidelined since fouling a ball off his right leg June 27. He suffered a small stress fracture and some nerve damage in his leg and had predicted he'd be back by Sept. 1. He got the cast off Monday after wearing it for two weeks and had hoped to begin running this weekend.
"They put him back in a cast," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said Friday. "He was showing similar pains. He's hoping now by Sept. 6. That's the deadline when his cast is scheduled to come off."
"It's probably going to be another week to 10 days of immobilizing it," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "Todd and the doctors feel there's a shot that it could heal quickly. It's getting to be hard to decipher how to heal a stress fracture with the nerve problems he's had."
Hollandsworth has been able to throw and hit, he just can't run because of the pain in his leg.
"If he comes back Sept. 6, he has a month to get ready, almost a month," Baker said. "He and [coaches Gene Clines and Gary Matthews] have a routine and a regimen to get him ready. The one problem is that there won't be any minor league games to get him game-ready."
The minor league regular season ends Sept. 6.
Hollandsworth was batting .318 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs in 57 games when injured, and was 9-for-16 off the bench with two pinch-hit home runs.
"We miss him a lot," Baker said. "This guy did a great job for us. Not to slight the players who are here, but a guy with that kind of pop in his bat, the days when you rest [Moises Alou] and Sammy [Sosa], you really wouldn't lose much production."
Could the Cubs still add a bat?
"You get to this point of the year and you can't be optimistic about adding people," Hendry said. "I think we'd all agree that our offense has been pretty good lately. You always want extra reinforcements in September, but I certainly don't know if there's a Todd Hollandsworth out there that you could get if you wanted to."
Step by step: Baker said reliever Joe Borowski also is "having a little tough time right now" during his rehab at Triple-A Iowa. Borowski was scheduled to pitch Friday.
Baker isn't counting on the Cubs closer, who has been sidelined since June 5 with a strained right shoulder.
"You hope that they come back, especially a guy of that magnitude," Baker said. "You hope that Joe comes back a lot better than when he left. There's a certain time period that you need to rebuild that arm strength and arm speed."
All in the family: Friday, the Cubs agreed to terms with eighth-round draft pick Eric Patterson, the brother of center fielder Corey Patterson. Eric batted .316 with 14 home runs and 124 RBIs in three seasons for Georgia Tech.
Hendry said signing him had nothing to do with being Corey's brother except they knew he came from great family.
"He has a chance to be a prototype leadoff hitter, he's a quality defensive player, he runs very, very well" Hendry said. "You could have an argument between the two brothers as to who runs faster. Until proven differently, I think Corey can beat him by a step.
"When you can play second base and run and leadoff and hit left-handed, it's a plus," Hendry said.
"I think I can get him now," Eric said about a possible race with his older brother.
Eric, 21, had his best season this year, batting .326 with nine homers and 49 RBIs while earning All-American accolades for the second time in his career. The second baseman ranked eighth in the nation in steals and led the Atlantic Coast Conference with 48 stolen bases.
Classes began last week at Georgia Tech and Eric had to decide whether to turn pro.
"It was a tough decision," Eric said. "I wanted to weigh all my options and think about what's best for me. Chicago is a great organization and I look forward to getting out and getting going."
Eric said the two Pattersons are a lot alike.
"He's a little more laid back and easy going," Eric said of his older brother. "I like to laugh and joke around a little bit more."
Eric plans to finish school and get his degree at Georgia Tech. He has three semesters remaining to achieve his major in business management.
Minor matters: The Cubs will call up three or four players next week when rosters expand on Sept. 1. However, don't expect the new faces until the team arrives in Florida for a series Sept. 3. The Cubs are at Montreal on Sept. 1, then have an off day Thursday.
Among the names being considered are infielder Neifi Perez, who could give Nomar Garciaparra a day off, and pitchers Todd Wellemeyer, Michael Wuertz and Sergio Mitre.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.