- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chad Cordero, 25, has been the Nationals closer since the team moved from Montreal to Washington in 2005. A No. 1 draft choice by the Expos in 2003, Cordero appeared in 19 minor league games before making his major league debut two months after the team drafted him. Cordero since has collected 128 saves in 299 appearances, with a 2.79 ERA. In his first full season in Washington, Cordero had 47 saves, becoming the youngest player in baseball history to have a 40-save season. In June of that season, he tied a major league record with 15 saves in one month.

Q: Any changes for you in the offseason? Anything interesting away from baseball?

A: I was busy planning my wedding and then went on a three-day cruise to Mexico. Other than that, it was pretty laid back.

Q: The Nationals surprised a lot of people last year by winning 73 games. Do you think this team can better that record?

A: I think we can be much better. Last year no one was expecting us to do as well as we did, and to do what we did gave us a lot of confidence. I think with the new guys who have come in Johnny) Estrada, (Paul) Lo Duca, (Aaron) Boone, (Lastings) Milledge and (Elijah) Dukes that will make us even better. Now we know if someone gets hurt, we have guys on the bench who can go in there and take their spot and do as well as the other guys. Any time you have those kind of players, it is going to help out your ballclub. I think we can finish over .500 and probably contend.

Q: You are only 25, but this will be your fifth full major league season. Do you feel like an older veteran?

A: It is kind of weird. I might have the most tenure with this team, coming from Montreal. I think the one who had the most before was (catcher Brian) Schneider (since traded to the New York Mets). Now it is me. I am the old man of the team. It is weird but cool at the same time. I like to help the younger pitchers like (Ross) Detwiler and others. I love being in that position to help younger guys out. We have that kind of bullpen. It is one big family down there. Everybody helps each other out. When Detwiler came up, we were showing him what to expect and what kind of life it is in the major leagues.

Q: Have you seen any pictures of the new stadium?

A: Yes, I’m very excited to see it in person. I’ve gone on the Web site and looked at the cameras almost every day to check it out. It looks really good. Hopefully, it will be a fair ballpark for us. I understand the home locker room is pretty cool. I read they have a spa area and stuff like that. At RFK, it was just the locker room and the food room and that was it. To have, what, almost 5,000 square feet, that will be a big change for us.

Q: If you weren’t a major league ballplayer, what do you think you might be doing?

A: I had wanted to be a history teacher at one time, but I don’t think I could be away from sports that much. So I would probably be a physical education teacher be able to teach and still be involved in sports.

Q: What did you think of the Johan Santana trade to the New York Mets, and how will it impact the Nationals?

A: The Mets improved their whole staff with that one trade. Now they have maybe the greatest pitcher in the game, and they still have Pedro Martinez, who will be healthy. So they are going to be tough. But I think everybody in the division will be tough, including us.

Q: What was the worst time of your major league career?

A: That was probably the last month of 2005, when I had about a 10.00 ERA.

Q: What was your best time?

A: Probably the whole month of June in 2005, when I had the record for saves in a month. That was great, probably the highlight of my career.

Thom Loverro

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