The watershed play -- or misplay -- came in the third inning, when Patterson missed the ball entirely upon reaching down to glove an A.J. Pierzynski single through the hole. Patterson slipped, regained control and retreated to get the ball that had gotten past him. By then, Pierzynski had gone from first to third in the early stages of a seven-run inning.
"I was just trying to be aggressive and charge the ball," Patterson said. "I kind of took my eye off of it at the last minute, and it got by. It's unfortunate. It's frustrating. You feel like those plays play a big part in the game. It just can't happen. It's unacceptable."
Patterson played second base in the Minors but was called up to shore up the outfield with injuries to Alfonso Soriano and Reed Johnson. Still, Patterson refused to blame his struggles on a lack of experience.
"The whole experience thing, that's no excuse," said Patterson, who broke out with a 5-for-8 series against the White Sox last weekend. "The biggest thing for me is when I do make mistakes, learn from it, and hope I don't make them again."
The Cubs did get good news regarding their outfield situation. The medical staff was pleased after seeing X-rays of Soriano's left hand, and he was cleared to begin range of motion and strengthening work without the splint. Soriano has a broken bone in his left hand, suffered when he was hit by a pitch June 11.
The only thing Ward was worried about Friday was whether his outfielder's glove was broken in enough.
Ward started in right, which he did in 10 games last season, and once this year, April 11 at Philadelphia. In that game, he had trouble tracking down a fly ball by Pat Burrell, and went 0-for-4.
He held his own against the White Sox, though a Jermaine Dye fly in the eighth proved problematic.
"It was all right, actually," Ward said of his fielding day. "The [Dye] ball was hit a little hard, and I didn't know where I was. It hit the fence and got by me, but I was just trying to be aggressive and try to catch what I could. For some reason I thought I could get it."
The Cubs wanted to get Kosuke Fukudome in the lineup but not risk having him aggravate his left calf, so he was the designated hitter on Friday against the White Sox.
Mark DeRosa did not start, to give him a day of rest, and Ward was the last man standing.
Ward was activated from the disabled list Tuesday after being sidelined because of problems with his back and hip. During his rehab in Mesa, Ariz., he didn't take any fly balls in the outfield. He also didn't play any outfield in the three games with Triple-A Iowa.
"I was told I'd be doing more at first base than the outfield, so I concentrated more on that," Ward said. "It's not different than what happened last year. They said, 'Hey, we need you in right field,' and I said, 'OK, let's do it.'"
Piniella was eager to get Ward in the lineup for the three-game series at the American League ballpark.
"Our lineup is so good already, it just adds an extra bat in the lineup instead of using more strategy with the pitcher in the nine hole," Ward said about having the designated hitter. "It gives us a chance to play more of a power game, I guess. You can add either a power hitter or even a guy who can provide more speed as well. It depends on what you want."
However, there is the issue of the glove. Asked if he had to borrow one, Ward said no.
"I just have to make sure mine is broke in enough," he said. "I'll use two hands."