If Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Corey Patterson had to pinpoint a reason why he's had success so far this season it would be because he no longer worries about what might happen.
It's a philosophy he perfected last April, when he was unemployed and working out at home. Eventually, the Orioles called and offered him a minor-league job with no promises.
He accepted, made it to the big leagues in mid-May and stuck all year, playing 90 games and hitting .269 with eight homers and a team-high 21 stolen bases.
The Orioles didn't re-sign him this winter, while the Blue Jays offered a minor-league deal. There may have been a time that Patterson, the third overall pick in the amateur draft in 1998, would have held out for a better offer. But no longer.
"Minor league deal, big-league deal, it doesn't matter," said the 31-year-old Patterson, who was back at Camden Yards this weekend for the first time since last October. "I like to play, that's what is most important. I think if you look at it that way — that you like to play this game — in the end things will work themselves out. That's how I view it."
He wasn't assured a job with the Jays, but was told he had a chance to compete for one this spring. In late March, he was hit in the head with a fastball from Boston's Daniel Bard, giving him a concussion and forcing him to the DL to start the year. He took it in stride.
"I got drilled. It happened so fast I couldn't get out of the way," Patterson said. "It still worked out, and thank God I could come back from that, come off the DL and join the team in April."
Since then, he has been one of the Blue Jays' top contributors. Heading into Saturday night, he was batting .285 in 48 games and was third on the Blue Jays in runs scored (30) and RBIs (27). He has scored more runs than any current Orioles player and only Adam Jones has more RBIs.
In his first at-bat Saturday, Patterson homered against former teammate Jake Arrieta in the first inning.
Patterson, though, harbors no resentment that he wasn't retained. He understood the Orioles' outfield was crowded with younger players. He appreciates the Orioles' opportunity in 2010 and in 2006 — both times when his career was at a crossroads.
"They took a chance on me a little bit. And it seems like the three years that I was here (2006-07, 2010), I think I had some pretty solid years," Patterson said. "It was tough to leave knowing that this team took a chance on me and when I played here I was OK. But at the same time, that is part of the game. This offseason, I was just very happy the Blue Jays called."
Lee activated, inserted in lineup
First baseman Derrek Lee, who was placed on the disabled list retroactive to May 17 with an oblique strain, was activated Saturday after one rehab game at Double-A Bowie.
"I'm excited. It's no fun sitting out, having to watch on TV," said Lee, who was hitting .231 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 40 games. "This is only my second time on the disabled list, and it's definitely not an enjoyable thing."
Lee, 35, spent time at the organization's minor league complex rehabbing before playing one game as the designated hitter for the Baysox on Friday. He had two hits and a walk in four plate appearances and said he felt no pain. He also took about 70 ground balls at first before the game.
"I just felt like swinging is the big deal," Lee said. "If I can swing full force, then I can probably do anything. We tested it out pretty good down there in Sarasota defensively, so I just wanted to make sure I got four or five at-bats."
Originally, Lee did not want to go on the DL, thinking he could be ready in a few days. But the Orioles made the move in hopes they caught a problem before it became too severe.
"When (oblique injuries) happen, they are seldom a two or three day thing. I feel fortunate — if he is healthy and playing for us consistently now and for the rest of the season — to have it be as short of a period as it was," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "If you don't believe me ask JJ Hardy (who was out for a month with the injury). I think erring on the side of caution before he [Lee] really had a major setback there was smart."
Showalter inserted Lee in the fifth spot in the lineup Saturday instead of his customary third slot, because the manager wanted to take a little pressure off Lee while also batting the hot-hitting Adam Jones third and the struggling Nick Markakis second.
Second baseman Brian Roberts, on the disabled list retroactive to May 17 with a concussion, will fly to Pittsburgh on June 7 to meet with sports-related concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins. It will be a follow-up from a previous examination by Collins, who prescribed two weeks of non-strenuous activity.
"That's the next step with him," Showalter said. "I think that will be the two-week period that he is supposed to not be involved with anything."