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Patton starts journey back to the major leagues

Troy Patton made his major league debut in August 2007 with the Houston Astros.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound left-hander was 0-2 with a 3.55 ERA in three games (two starts) for the Astros during the 2007 season. After his promising debut, the Orioles acquired Patton in the trade that sent shortstop Miguel Tejada to Houston in December 2007.

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Some people believed the 23-year-old pitcher could compete for a spot in the Orioles' starting rotation to begin the 2008 season. Patton, however, wasn't among the supporters of that plan.

"I knew something was wrong with me before going into the season, so I wasn't really expecting to be in the rotation," Patton said.After tests were done on his left shoulder, it was discovered that Patton had a torn labrum. He elected to have surgery and missed the entire year.

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Patton is scheduled to make his first start for the Double-A Bowie Baysox against the Akron Aeros tonight at 7:05 p.m. After suffering back-to-back losses to start the season, the Baysox hope Patton is able to get the team in the win column.

Does it bother Patton that he's beginning the year in the Eastern League, when it was possible that he could have been in the Orioles' rotation last year?

"It doesn't affect my psyche. I've played here before," Patton said. "I know how to pitch here, maybe not in the Eastern League, but in Double-A."

There have been no setbacks from the surgery, according to Patton.

The Astros' ninth-round selection in the 2004 MLB draft said spring training went well, but he was a little frustrated to not get enough opportunities in big league camp.

"They were just trying to get me comfortable again and get me back in shape," Patton said.

Although he doesn't plan to set any individual goals, there is one thing that would satisfy Patton in 2009.

"I want to throw about 150 or 160 innings," Patton said. "If I do that, I feel like it will be a successful season."

Patton throws two-seam and four-seam fastballs, as well as a changeup and a slider.

"I'm a basic lefty," Patton said. "I try to get ahead with the fastball and changeup, then I mix in the breaking stuff."

In Patton's opinion, his changeup is the strongest pitch, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the one he would throw in a crucial spot.

Which pitch would he throw in a 3-2 count with two outs, bases loaded and the championship on the line?

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"Two-seam, down and away, because it's the best pitch there is in baseball."

With that type of confidence, Patton could be resuming his career in the major leagues in the near future.

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