In a development that should greatly displease the Cubs center fielder (if not Tom Cruise), Chicago manager Dusty Baker yesterday proposed that Corey Patterson visit a sports psychologist. From the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mike Kiley.

Patterson (above) hasn’t been approached by the Cubs on the subject. Baker stressed that so far it’s nothing except talk as the Cubs seek a solution to Patterson’s seasonlong travails.

”Everybody is looking for answers and clues,” Baker said. ”I got to talk to him first. I can’t comment on that. I’m not opposed to anything like that. I’m open-minded to stuff like that.

”I was probably one of the first guys that took some relaxation courses in Venezuela in 1974. I even got hypnotized in ’78 because I was having trouble concentrating. I was having some problems off the field, and it was affecting my game.

”You have to be careful. That person has to be open to it, No. 1. No. 2, it doesn’t need to be a publicity stunt or like a guy is emotionally and mentally off or something. A lot of people aren’t as open about it.”

Former manager Don Baylor brought in Mack Newton to treat the Cubs’ minds and bodies. That experiment ended badly when some players chafed at Newton’s attempts to address their psychological needs in clubhouse lectures.