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“I was fortunate enough to have seen this kid since the day he came up,” Acta said. “He came in with the bases loaded and two outs, facing [Ivan] Rodriguez in Miami, right out of [Class] A ball, and he got him out. I’ve seen him go through good and bad outings, and bounce back the next day. He doesn’t show his emotions and I think he does have the perfect makeup.”
Cordero does seem unflabbable, and unassuming as well — even after he won an arbitration hearing against the team this past spring and with it a $4.15 million contract this season. And he has come back from his struggles earlier this year since his return from bereavement leave after his grandmother’s passing to return to his successful form.
“You are going to have ups and downs,” Cordero said. “You have to stay focused during the rough spots. I’ve had some times when I’ve given up eight runs in two weeks. But you have to move on and be ready for the next game. You have to forget about it when something bad happens and be ready.”
Cordero was ready again Thursday night, notching his 10th save of the season and the 101st of his career in a 3-1 win over Baltimore to complete a Nationals sweep. That ties him for fifth on the franchise career save list with Tim Burke and puts him just four away from his bullpen coach the first half of last year, John Wetteland. Jeff Reardon, with 152 saves, is the all-time franchise leader.
Cordero’s 101st save leaves him 399 behind another reliever who recently reached a milestone: Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, who recently nailed down his record-setting 500th career save.
“Five hundred saves is quite an accomplishment,” Cordero said. “It means you have to stay healthy for a long time. You have to have a lot of 30 to 40 save seasons. For him to do that is great. It shows how good he really has been and how important he has been to the Padres for so many years.”
But Hoffman wasn’t even in the major leagues at age 25.
The question that looms over Cordero, though, is will he be able to be as important to the Nationals for so many years as Hoffman was to the Padres? Or will Cordero, who likely will be a very valuable commodity, be dealt away at the trading deadline in the Nationals’ quest to build up their farm system?
Will Cordero even record his 200th career save in a Washington Nationals uniform?
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