Is Cordero Hurt?

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, April 17, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

Deposed closer Chad Cordero pitched last night against the Mets in his second outing since returning from the disabled list. And while he did not give up a run, it was a troubling appearance none-the-less. His "fastball" was in the high 70s and only maxed out at 82 MPH by his last pitch. This, obviously, is troubling.

Mark Zuckerman with the Times had a blog entry about it, and since I wasn't in the locker room I didn't talk to Cordero, Acta or Bowden. But from reading what's been written there, on the and elsewhere, it's apparent the Chief isn't right.

Here's a snippet from the Post's article:

But when closer Chad Cordero came on in an innocuous, eighth-inning situation just to get some work in, alarms rang out throughout the organization. Cordero's warm-up pitches were so shockingly slow that Manager Manny Acta and pitching coach Randy St. Claire visited the mound before he began the inning. His first pitch, a fastball, registered at 76 mph on the scoreboard radar gun. It took him 15 pitches to top 80 mph. He topped out at 82 mph. Somehow, he worked a scoreless inning, allowing only an infield single.

"I wasn't hurting at all," Cordero said. "I didn't have enough time to warm up."

Taken at face value, it's easy to believe Chief. It was chilly and according to the Svrluga's story a "communication gaffe" was the reason Cordero didn't have enough time to warm up. But reading between the lines is easy when it's spelled out in a senior-sized font. Cordero obviously isn't healthy.

Here's Manager Manny Acta's most salient quote, again borrowed from the Post:

"What do you do?" Acta said. "He says he's fine. He has no pain. He's going to continue to pitch. Just right now we're going to have to pick and choose our spots, because I really don't feel right now, the way he's throwing the ball, I should trust him to save a game here."

I can answer Acta's rhetorical question: See the doctor again! The original MRI showed no structural damage. But something is wrong. His velocity was down all spring, then he felt sharp pain in the bullpen warming up opening day. He has since returned but can't throw anywhere close to his normal 89-92 MPH. I'm not a doctor, but I play one on the Internet. This is an obvious case of "young guy gets hurt for the first time in his career and tries to play his way through it".

Here's hoping he doesn't do any permanent damage while trying to play through his current injury.