Cordero to Take Bereavement Leave to Visit Dying Grandmother
Some sad news this morning.
The Nationals placed closer Chad Cordero on the bereavement list, a move made so the 25-year-old could return to his home town of Chino, Calif., and be with his dying grandmother.
Cordero said this morning in a phone interview that he was scheduled to fly home from Milwaukee at 2:15 p.m. He has been dealing with the impending death of Josie Cordero, 76, from brain cancer for the past two weeks. Cordero said his grandmother was read her last rites yesterday.
"It's been tough," Cordero said. "I try to do my best. I try not to let it affect me during the game. But before the game, and when I got back home, it's tough. You always have it on your mind. You're always waiting for that phone call. Yesterday, I sat in the clubhouse the first four innings waiting for that call. Luckily, it didn't come."
By being placed on the bereavement list, Cordero must miss a minimum of three games and a maximum of seven before returning to the club. The Nationals called up right-hander Winston Abreu from Class AAA Columbus to take Cordero's spot on the roster. Abreu had allowed only one run over 18 innings in 10 appearances - a 0.50 ERA - for the Clippers.
Cordero said his grandmother was diagnosed with brain cancer last June. "We knew she probably didn't have more than a year to live," he said.
But three weeks ago, she attempted to drive her car - "which she wasn't supposed to do," Cordero said. She fell down while getting in the car, breaking her hip.
"They told us she probably was on the ground for an hour," Cordero said. "Ever since then, she's been getting worse."
Cordero said he would likely return to the team Monday. The Nationals also have one more roster move to make today when they activate right-hander Jason Simontacchi, who will pitch tonight against the Brewers, trying to help the club snap a six-game losing streak.
Cordero first talked about his grandmother's condition Sunday, after he blew a save against the Chicago Cubs in a game the Nationals eventually lost, 4-3.
So, with that unfortunate development, we'll have some interesting questions for Manny Acta in a couple hours.
(Also, for anyone thinking about last night's Chris Capuano (Duke guy) special, here's all the info you need. Game story, with info on Logan and Guzman. The one underplayed element there: A fine outing from Matt Chico, who threw a bad 1-0 slider to Geoff Jenkins in the second, one Jenkins pounded for a three-run homer, the only runs in the game. Chico did well to finish seven innings with that as the only damage. He threw strikes. A lesson for him: Throw strikes, and you might do OK. Here's the notebook, with a small chat with Jason Simontacchi on tonight's start. And here's the podcast, with a bunch of babbling from me but some good talks with the players.)
So, the main question for Acta:
Who will close in Cordero's absence? The logical guess/choice is Jon Rauch, but it'll be interesting to see in what capacity they use Abreu. Chris Booker, not Abreu, has been the closer in Columbus, so my guess is Rauch will be the man.
We'll also check in on any developments with John Patterson. Oh, and a thought for tomorrow's game: Yes, Jason Bergmann will be on the mound for Washington. But he'll be opposed by Claudio Vargas. Have you seen Vargas's numbers? He's 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Hmmm. Why can't the Nationals find guys like that? (Oh, that's right. They did have Vargas. He was designated for assignment in May 2005, with these numbers: 0-3, 9.24 ERA. He was acquired by Milwaukee from Arizona, who picked him up when the Nats let him go, this offseason, the deal that sent Doug Davis to the Diamondbacks.)
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