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Jocketty: Reds won't re-sign Patterson

Jocketty: Reds won't re-sign Patterson

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CINCINNATI -- Corey Patterson's return to the Reds in 2009 already seemed unlikely as this season closed. Now, it's official.

Patterson, one of nine Reds headed to free agency, won't be re-signed by the club.

"I don't think he'll be back," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "We'll turn the page."

In the midst of Spring Training, Patterson was signed in March to a one-year, $3 million contract and made the starting center fielder and leadoff man by manager Dusty Baker. The two had previously worked together with the Cubs.

Ultimately, Patterson became the symbolic target and point man for much of the fans' criticism of the club as it struggled through an eighth straight losing season.

He batted just .205 with 10 home runs, 34 RBIs and a .238 on-base percentage in 135 games. His average was tied with Detroit's Brandon Inge for lowest in the Majors among hitters with at least 375 plate appearances.

Although Patterson started a team-high 82 games in center field and was superb defensively, he was sent down to Triple-A Louisville to sort out his swing in late May. He returned after only five games because of an injury to Ryan Freel. Patterson rarely led off after his recall.

Jocketty admitted Patterson became a "hot-button issue" with fans.

As for potential Reds free agents who will be re-signed, Jocketty chose not to reveal the names he was targeting but said he'd like to begin talks with some of them before they get to the open market.

"We may pick and choose a couple of guys," Jocketty said. "We spent last week winding down the 2008 season. Something I'll be handling this week is talking to agents."

Expect the club to make serious efforts to bring back reliever David Weathers and utility player Jerry Hairston Jr.

Players can file for free agency for a 15-day period after the World Series ends. During that time, clubs retain exclusive negotiating rights until the filing window closes.

By the end of this week, Jocketty will be at the Reds' complex in Sarasota, Fla., to watch prospects at the instructional league and hold meetings.

"There will be two days of meetings with our player development staff," Jocketty said. "We'll talk about next year, talk about our philosophy and what we want to do."

Jocketty added there were no plans to make major philosophical shifts in the organization's current development program.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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