38-year-old Cordero trying to prove he has something left

38-year-old Cordero trying to prove he has something left
February 19, 2014, 12:00 am
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Francisco Cordero knows there are no guarantees, no promises made.

But he's with the Red Sox on a minor league deal and an invite to major league camp, hoping for one more chance.

Cordero, a veteran of 14 seasons with 329 career saves, had a brutal 2012 (7.55 ERA) and sat out 2013 after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder. But at 38, he never allowed himself to think that his career in baseball might be over.

"I hadn't stopped thinking about pitching," said Cordero. "I can say it's not about money. I love this game and I've been in this game for so long. My first year was 1994 and this is 2014, so it's 20 years later. It's just a love for the game. I really love this game. I have a passion for it.

"I want to keep pitching until I think I can't pitch. When it's over, I had a good career and it's time to go home, I'll go home. But that's not how I feel right now."

Even though he was out of the game last year, Cordero couldn't stay away. He watched games from his native Dominican

"It was really, really strange," he said. "Waking up every morning at home, I knew I had a bad season in 2012, but beside that, I had pitched great before that. It was kind of weird. That's kind of how this business works.

"I didn't have an offer. I was home, I would watch every game. I never stopped watching games. It was hard for me to watch it, but I did watch because this what I love, this is what I do. I'm here because I'm trying to come back."

Cordero faces long odds to make the team. The Red Sox' bullpen is one of the deepest in the game, with closer Koji Uehara and set-up men Edward Mujica, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Miller and Craig Breslow all assured spots. Add in Burke Badenhop and swingman Brandon Workman and that may account for all seven bullpen jobs.

But Cordero presses on.

He chose the Red Sox in part because of John Farrell -- for whom he pitched in Toronto in 2012 before being traded to Houston -- and because he liked what he saw of the Red Sox last season.

"I'm just so happy to be here," he said. "You watch Boston as a fan, and they not only play hard but they have fun. You want to be on a team like that. Today was my first day and look at how many people were outside watching the first day of camp. It's just amazing.

"There's a lot of competition here, but I just have to work hard and prove that I can still pitch."

Cordero threw Tuesday and was pleased with the results.

"I feel great, I feel good," he said. "I'm in great shape, I lost 32 pounds back in the Dominican. So I'm healthy. You have to be concerned about your health and I'm pretty healthy. My arm is good. I feel like a little boy. I feel like one of those young guys who get invited to their first spring training."

"He's restriction-free," said Farrell. "He's mainstream. I saw his bullpen today. I'm not going to take too much from his first bullpen, but the one thing that's clear is that he's dropped about 30 pounds and he's in great shape (compared) to two years ago when I had him in Toronto."

Left unanswered is whether Cordero would willingly pitch in Pawtucket if he fails to make the major league roster this spring.

"I haven't talked [with] my agent about that," he said. "My focus right now is on trying to make the team. I haven't been in the minor leagues for a long time. But I'm not going to say no. We'll see what happens. Every opportunity I get, I'm going to try to make the best out of it and just go from there."