An unlikely contributor
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Rule 5 draft, it is held annually on the last day of the winter meetings. In sum, certain minor-leaguers, if they aren’t protected by their parent clubs, can be selected in the Rule 5 draft.The 6-3, 205-pound Patton was drafted from the Rockies by the Reds, who subsequently traded him to the Cubs. In Patton’s case, he was taken in the major-league phase of the draft, so he has to remain with the big-league club all year or he has to be returned to his parent club along with a cash compensation.
For a team that won 97 games, it’s rare that a Rule 5 player would make the team, let alone stick with the major-league team all year. Last year the Cubs brought big right-hander Tim Lahey to camp, drafted from the Twins organization. Lahey was returned.
And yet, here the Seattle native sits on the Cubs active roster. While it’s been a couple of rough outings for him a couple of days ago and tonight against the D-Backs, Patton possesses the devil-may-care attitude and laid back attitude that benefits not only a reliever, but also a Rule 5 kid who has never pitched above Class A.
Vine Line: Are you surprised at all that you’d make a veteran team that won 97 games last year?
David Patton: I’ve said all along that I’ve got a new opportunity with a new organization. They saw something they liked in me and I came ready to pitch. I had a goal to make the team and now I have the goal to help this team win games and get back to the playoffs.
VL: Does it sit in the back of your mind that the organization can’t send you down, so you might end up going back to Colorado?
DP: I can’t worry about that. All I can do is worry about what’s between the lines. That’s all I can control. Any other decisions, I can’t make those for them.
VL: You’ve got a curveball with which many scouts have been impressed. How did you develop such a good bender?
DP:Growing up I didn’t pitch very much. Then my senior year in high school, I started pitching and fooling around with the curveball. I liked throwing it and as with anything, you practice more something that you like. So over time it just came to be my pitch. I feel good with it.
VL: How does the Cubs organization compare to Colorado? Or is it hard to answer because you hadn’t yet made it to Denver? That’s a weird question, I know.
DP: Yeah, I can’t really make the comparison. It’s such a new environment, something I’ve never experienced before. I can only go out there and be ready to pitch and help our team win.
VL: Were you nervous your first time out?
DP: I wouldn’t say I was nervous, but I was definitely excited. I had a big adrenaline rush going. It was a thing I had dreamed of since I was a little kid. It sunk in after the first inning, though. My parents didn’t make the trip, because it was a last-minute type thing, but they were very excited, too.
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