"He didn't have a good spring, he had a tremendous spring," Yankees pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras said shortly after he was sent down to Triple-A. "He just needs a little bit more experience. He pitched in Double-A last year, and he had a tremendous spring, but he's got to get a little bit more time in Triple-A to show he can get Triple-A batters out, that he can do it on a back-to-back basis, that he can pitch today, have the day off tomorrow and then pitch the next day, and just not pitch every three or four days like he did in major league camp.
"He's got to prove that (a major league team) can depend on him today, tomorrow, maybe even three days in a row, or two days out of three or three days out of five."
The Padres apparently believe that time has come and are confident that he can make those kinds of adjustments. Bringing him aboard in September also lightens the loads and sets the expectations for the future.
Given his minor league track record, this could be a waiver wire signing that has made Kevin Towers famous.
Patterson has an average fastball and a very good curveball while consistently being around the plate.
With some deception due to his frame, his ball comes at a downward angle in a fashion that is similar to that of Chris Young - making his fastball jump out at hitters at a higher speed than the radar gun reads.
The curveball comes in a bit slow, at times, and the Yankees have tried to quicken its pace and tighten its spin. They had some success with that but then turned Patterson onto a slider.
"The big thing that I worked on was my slider," Patterson told PinstripesPlus.com. "I threw it, and I threw it well. I'm going to keep throwing the slider and make sure they know that I have that third pitch that's going to get bigger guys out."
"It's going to give hitters a different look," said Scranton Wilkes-Barre pitching coach Rafael Chaves. "He has an average fastball and a good curveball. With the slider, we're looking for a shorter, tighter break on the pitch, and something he can get in on lefties."
The 29-year-old Patterson made his Major League debut in 2008 with the Yankees, allowing one run in 1.1 innings of relief with two strikeouts in his lone outing on June 1 at Minnesota.
In 42 relief appearances with Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre this season, he went 2-1 with five saves and a 3.80 ERA, collecting 54 strikeouts compared to 13 walks.
The year before, Patterson blew away the competition, posting a 1.09 ERA for Double-A Trenton across 43 appearances. In 77.1 innings across two leagues, he yielded just 45 hits while striking out 92.
"Patterson doesn't walk anybody," said Contreras. "He attacks that strike zone with his fastball, he has that great angle because he's so tall, and then he'll mix in his curveball."
"He's got a lot of deception when he throws the ball," Double-A Trenton pitching coach Scott Aldred said. "His fastball seems to get on hitters pretty good."