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Chad Cordero touches 91 mph in return appearance

Feb 25, 2013, 11:55 PM EDT

Chad Cordero AP

Back on a big-league mound after a nearly two-year absence, Chad Cordero gave up a home run but retired three of the four Mariners he faced in his Angels debut Monday.

Both MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby and USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale had pieces on him and his trials today.

Cordero’s minor league deal, signed earlier this month, didn’t include an invitation to major league camp, but he was brought over to get an inning in today with the Angels’ top hurlers not pitching yet.

“He was like 40 pounds lighter, so I didn’t recognize him,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “But once he got on the mound, you could tell it was him.”

Cordero pitched at 89-91 mph today, said GM Jerry DiPoto. That’s actually right where he was before hurting his shoulder in 2008; according to Fangraphs data, his average fastball ranged between 89 and 90 mph every year from 2003-07.

The soon-to-be 31-year-old Cordero isn’t a candidate to make the Angels out of spring training, but he hopes to contribute later on this season.

“This reminds me how much I missed it,” Cordero told Nightengale. “I hated it when I was released. If I have to pitch in A-ball, Double-A to get here, I’ll do it. I’ll be a mop-up guy if I have to. I want to be here because I love this game so much.”

Cordero, a 2003 first-round pick, saved 47 games for the Nationals as a 23-year-old in 2005. He racked up 128 saves in total before turning 26. However, he’s made just 15 appearances since 2008 (six then, nine in 2010) because of shoulder issues. He’s also making his way back from a tragedy after losing his 11-month-old to sudden infant death syndrome in 2010.

  1. tuberippin - Feb 26, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    We have plenty of BSOHL stories, but Chad Cordero really does look to be in the best shape I’ve ever seen him in while pitching. He doesn’t look like a sweaty stack of pancakes anymore.

    In all seriousness though, I hope he makes it back. He was a damn good closer back in the day, and considering the state of baseball’s bullpens after last season, you never know who could contribute…I don’t think too many people planned on Tom Wilhemsen, Alfredo Aceves, or Casey Janssen to be closing games for teams last season.

    Best of luck to Cordero (not Francisco though).

  2. simon94022 - Feb 26, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    Hail to the Chief!

    I’m not usually one to fall for feel good stories, but it would be great to see Cordero come back and do well.

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