Nationals

Quick Links

Hail to the Chief again

822401.png

Hail to the Chief again

Chad Cordero always figured he'd stand on the mound at Nationals Park in 2012 and fire a pitch toward the plate. He just never figured he'd do it wearing shorts and flip-flops, nor that he'd do it 10 minutes before the actual first pitch of a game was thrown.

"It's just kind of weird to put on a Nationals jersey in general," Cordero said with a laugh this afternoon. "I never thought I'd be able to come back here and throw out a first pitch. It's cool. It's unbelievable."

Four years removed from his last in-game appearance at Nationals Park and a year removed from his retirement announcement, Cordero was back in D.C. tonight, honored by his former team before it played the Braves.

Still the Nationals' all-time leader (by leaps and bounds) with 113 career saves, Cordero's career came to a screeching halt in April 2008 when he tore the labrum in his right shoulder. Not tendered a contract by former general manager Jim Bowden following the season, the reliever did recover and return to the big leagues with the Mariners in 2010, but made only nine appearances.

After a failed attempt to make another comeback with the Blue Jays last season, Cordero decided to call it a career. He wanted to spend more time with his wife, Jamie, and their children, especially after the couple lost daughter Tehya to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 2010.

But a few months ago, Cordero (still only 30) admittedly got "the itch" to return to the mound. He's since lost 40 pounds and worked his arm back into shape. His plan: Play winter ball and hope to sign on with a professional organization for next spring.

"I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get back up here," he said. "I'm willing to start off at Double-A, Triple-A. Even if I have to go to independent ball just to prove I can pitch again, I'm going to do whatever it takes to hopefully one day make it back to the big leagues and stick again."

Cordero still closely follows and roots for the organization that made him a first-round draft pick in 2003 and gave him the opportunity to save a franchise-record 47 games only two years later.

Which is why he couldn't wait to pull a flat-brimmed, red curly W cap over his eyes this evening, walk to the mound, wave to a crowd that cheered and chanted his nickname "Chief" and then throw out the ceremonial first pitch to reliever Drew Storen.

"I still have a connection here, and I want to see them succeed," he said. "I try to follow them as much as possible. I still love it here. The Nationals were my family for four years, and you can't just cut ties with your family."

Quick Links

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

usatsi_10847206.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

Quick Links

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

screen_shot_2018-05-21_at_7.52.30_pm.png
@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.