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September 24, 2010

Oriole Troy Patton and his incredible Facebook story

You may have noticed that Troy Patton finally pitched on Wednesday in Boston, his first big-league outing in three years.

But this story is much more than just a comeback from an arm injury.

Patton, 25, pitched on Wednesday in front of his 34-year-old sister, whom he had never met before this week.

It’s an incredible story, and one that gets a major assist from the social media site, Facebook.

Patton’s father had been married previously. His ex-wife took their daughter, Heather, away when she was 4 and Patton’s father never saw her again. Before this week, that is.

According to Patton, his dad hired a private investigator in the past to find the girl, but the attempts to reunite were unsuccessful.

“I knew about her when I was younger, my dad has always talked about her. ‘Oh, it’s my daughter’s birthday today,’” Patton said. “It really hurt him every year because he tried to find her earlier, Technology wasn’t what it is now.”

Fast forward to this year. Patton’s dad, who lives in Houston and is remarried with four boys, including Troy, set up a Facebook account and entered “Heather Patton.” And there was a hit for a woman in Boston that matched the age. It was her.

Patton’s dad and the woman agreed to meet in Boston, to watch the Red Sox and Orioles play this past week.

On Wednesday, they watched Patton make his Orioles debut and his first big-league appearance since September 2007, when he was with the Houston Astros. Patton was traded that offseason to the Orioles in the Miguel Tejada deal and then missed all of 2008 after labrum surgery, spending nearly two full seasons in the minors.

He had been up with the Orioles three times this season, but didn’t pitch until Wednesday, when he faced four batters in the seventh, walking one, allowing a hit and recording two outs.

“I have another 2/3 of an inning in the big leagues, which isn’t much to most people, but it means a lot to me,” said Patton, who appeared in three games for the Astros in 2007. “Three years since I’ve done anything, so it means a lot to me.”

One of his outs was a strikeout of Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. And that had a little extra meaning, given the unusual reunion in the Fenway park stands.

“(Heather) knew who (Ortiz) was, too, which is good,” Patton laughed.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter knew of the story before Patton pitched Wednesday. He said he had wanted to get the lefty into a game, and that may have provided more motivation.

“I’d like to paint it that way, but if his sister hadn’t been there he probably would have pitched anyway,” Showalter said. “But it is something that I stepped back and (thought) about, and everybody in the dugout was really pulling for him to get a clean outing, so to speak. That was pretty cool.”

Patton said he has now “friended” his sister – whom he says has similar hair color and eyes and definitely possesses a family resemblance -- on Facebook. He expects to keep in touch with her and for her to meet the rest of his family.

“It’s kind of cool, too, because I got to meet her first,” Patton said. “Now, when everybody else meets her, me and her already kind of know each other. … She’s definitely part of the family now.”

Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:35 PM | | Comments (4)


Tillman: 2 hits 3 ER
Cecil: 6 hits 1 ER

The kid seems to get punished whether he walks 1 or 6. When the Os get themselves a couple of guys who can land the ball beyond the fences, the pitching staff will improve 50%. The object of the offseason should be to build a lineup that punishes the mediocre pitching that you face 60% of the time.

every single time i see a guy like bautista going off like this, i just have to wonder what the hell the pitcher might be thinking.
Whatever happened to identifying the guy that is hot or can beat you and walking him by giving him crap he could not possibly hit? Insane. The thought process, or lack of, is just insane.Ask Tillman what he was thinking when the MLB HR leader steps to the plate with one HR already? Somebody take that kid aside and tell him to park that macho in the locker room...

4 hits and 5 runs...thats dice baseball stuff.

at the end of the day, you can't work this hard to score 3 runs. 13 hits? 3 runs? oh wait, no Hrs. Forgot.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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