The last time Corey Patterson was in Nashville he didn’t stay long.
He’d like his second stint in the Music City to be just as brief.
Slated to start in the outfield for the Nashville Sounds in the season opener on Thursday in New Orleans, Patterson hopes his 14th professional season ends with a spot on the Milwaukee Brewers.
That’s what happened in 2009. Shortly after being signed by Milwaukee he started with the Sounds and ripped seven home runs, knocked in 22 runs and batted .331 in 29 games before being called up by the Brewers.
But the 32-year-old won’t lose sleep if his time in Nashville goes longer than expected.
“At the same time I’m not going to put any added pressure on myself,” Patterson said after batting practice on Tuesday. “I’m going to go out, enjoy the game, get better every day just like everyone else is here and help my teammates to get the major leagues if I can.”
Patterson knows the big leagues well. He has represented seven different organizations at the highest level.
The Kennesaw, Ga., native was drafted third overall by the Chicago Cubs in 2000. The defensive-minded Patterson spent six years in the Cubs organization, including three full seasons as the team’s center fielder. He had his best season in 2003 when he batted .298 and was on his way to an All-Star nod when he suffered a season-ending ACL injury.
The left-handed hitter never has reached that same consistency since. He has bounced around in the minors and majors from Baltimore to Cincinnati to Washington, among others.
“He has been fortunate to have a lot of big league years and he can teach a lot of our younger guys to get over the hump. A little thing here and there can help anybody,” Sounds manager Mike Guerrero said. “I believe he is a pretty solid ballplayer and he knows his limitations and knows how to play the game.”
Patterson was just up in the big leagues six months ago when he finished the 2011 regular season with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was traded to St. Louis from Toronto but didn’t make the Cardinals’ postseason roster, hitting just .157 in 44 games.
A career .252 hitter at the major league level who has battled numerous injuries — including a head injury at the beginning of last season — he signed a minor league contract with the Brewers in January.
That doesn’t mean the dream of getting back to the big leagues has ended. Nor will he concern himself too much with what he can’t control.
“You can’t really put too much pressure on yourself no matter where you are playing — whether it is here, major leagues, rookie ball or what not,” Patterson said. “You just have to try to have good thoughts ... don’t start doubting yourself because if you do that at any level that is when things start to go south for a player. That’s all I’m looking to do and carry that approach every day and hopefully up to the big leagues soon.”