Ensberg, once thought to be a rising star with Houston, last played six days ago. His fate was probably realized when Alex Rodriguez was hurt. While A-Rod was on the disabled list from April 30 to May 20, Ensberg hit .185 with one RBI in 27 at-bats in nine games -- six starts -- at third base.
For the season, the 32-year-old Ensberg was batting just .203 with one extra-base hit, a homer, and four RBI in 74 at-bats. Three years ago, Ensberg hit .283 with 36 homers and 101 RBI for the Astros.
After a 12-inning game on Saturday, manager Joe Girardi wanted another reliever. Patterson, one of the last cuts at the end of spring training, would be making his major league debut.
"We have some decisions to make over the next few days, but for the short term this is what we're going to do," Girardi said.
More moves will be coming for the Yankees next week, with catcher Jorge Posada due back Thursday from his rehabilitation of a sore shoulder. Girardi also said he wanted another long reliever as a backup for Joba Chamberlain, who is set to start on Tuesday.