Notes: Outfielder Patterson sidelined
Broken arm will keep prospect out at least three months
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Had an extra out been recorded earlier in the game, Ryan Patterson would have never walked to the plate for the Blue Jays.
As fate would have it, though, the young outfielder stood in the batter's box with two outs in the top of the ninth inning against the Red Sox on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla. That's when a pitch from Boston's Edgar Martinez sailed inside on Patterson and shattered his right forearm.
"I just had a [bad] feeling in my stomach after hearing that," said general manager J.P. Ricciardi, who didn't join the Blue Jays on the road trip. "It must've got him right on the bone."
Patterson was scheduled to have his arm evaluated on Friday to determine the extent of the injury, which Ricciardi said was first described as a "displaced fracture." The initial prognosis is that Patterson -- one of Toronto's top outfield prospects -- will miss at least three months, and he could require surgery to place a rod in his forearm.
Ricciardi said that the best-case scenario would be having the 23-year-old Patterson healthy by June in order for him to play the final three months of the Minor League season. After that, Toronto would send Patterson to the Arizona Fall League to get him some extra at-bats.
"We can make up some time for him, which is important," Ricciardi said. "That's a shame. The kid was playing really well. He's a good player. He'll be OK. He'll bounce back from it, but you hate to see anybody get hurt."
Patterson, who is a non-roster invitee this spring, hit .300 with a home run and three RBIs in five Grapefruit League games for the Blue Jays. Toronto selected Patterson out of Louisiana State University in the fourth round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Patterson hit .277 with 25 homers and 89 RBIs in 133 games between Class A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire last season. His production with Dunedin earned him a second R. Howard Webster Award -- a yearly honor Toronto gives to the top player at each of its Minor League clubs.
Patterson also won a Webster in 2005, when he hit .339 with 13 home runs and 65 RBIs in 71 games for Auburn in the New York Penn League. Entering this season, Baseball America listed Patterson as Toronto's fourth-best prospect.
All lined up: Opening Day for Toronto is still 24 days away, but that didn't stop the Blue Jays from rolling out their projected regular-season lineup against the Astros on Friday afternoon.
Left fielder Reed Johnson led off, followed by first baseman Lyle Overbay, center fielder Vernon Wells, designated hitter Frank Thomas, third baseman Troy Glaus, right fielder Alex Rios, catcher Gregg Zaun, second baseman Aaron Hill and shortstop Royce Clayton.
"That's a pretty deep lineup," Ricciardi said before the contest.
"It's real comforting to know that, if you go out and give up a couple runs," Blue Jays starter John Thomson said, "that the guys coming up for our offensive lineup are going to score four or fives runs per game."
Baby steps: When Thomson was asked how he'd describe his outing against Houston, the right-hander paused briefly before giving his answer.
"A stepping stone," Thomson replied. "Today was just my second outing. It wasn't really what I was looking for. I struggled with my command and fell behind pretty much everybody."
Statistically, Thomson's performance wasn't bad. He allowed one run on three hits -- all in the first inning -- with a strikeout and a walk in three innings. Thomson's control wavered, though, and he threw 48 pitches, including 28 for strikes.
After Thomson exited the game, Jays catcher Sal Fasano pointed out a mechanical flaw in the pitcher's delivery. Thomson, who is in the running for one of Toronto's rotation spots, didn't discuss the specific issue, but he said it explained why he didn't feel comfortable on the mound.
"I played with [Fasano with the Rockies] in '01, so he's seen me throw for the last six years," Thomson said. "He sees a little something different in me sometimes that someone else might not see. So, we'll figure that out and go from there."
Last man standing: There's a few key characteristics that the Blue Jays are looking for in the player who fills the 25th roster spot.
"He's got to be a guy who can play all the infield spots and be a guy who can pinch run," Ricciardi said.
Toronto's GM might as well have been describing utility man Jason Smith, who was picked up in the Rule 5 Draft in December. Smith can man all four infield positions, and the Jays have even given him playing time in the outfield this spring.
"Right now, he's got the upper hand," Ricciardi said. "He's done a good job. He hasn't done anything to disprove the fact that he should be on the team, but we have a little time to go."
Smith isn't the only infielder in the running for a spot on Toronto's roster, though. The Blue Jays have also been impressed with 25-year-old shortstop Ray Olmedo, who was claimed off waivers from the Reds in January. Olmedo is a switch-hitter, and Toronto has liked what it's seen from him on defense.
"I don't know right now," said Ricciardi, when asked if Olmedo could make the team. "I don't want to say, 'Yay,' or, 'Nay.' But he's a nice safety valve to have for us in the sense that you know he's going to catch the ball."
Quotable: "Pride." -- Jays outfielder and New Brunswick native Matt Stairs, after launching a batting-practice homer off the Canadian flag in right-center field
Coming up: Toronto right-hander Josh Towers is scheduled to make his second start of the spring when the Blue Jays take on the Braves at 1:05 p.m. ET at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.