The Associated Press reports Washington Nationals closer Chad Cordero (shoulder) is headed back to the 15-day disabled list with a strained lat muscle below his right shoulder. Cordero called for a trainer to come to the mound after feeling something on what turned out to be his final pitch Tuesday, April 29. He will undergo an MRI Wednesday, April 30.
The news of Cordero going back on the DL does not come as much of a surprise. He has been hampered by shoulder issues for much of 2008. Cordero first complained of stiffness in his shoulder on opening night, and it was later revealed that he was having some minor issues in spring training. The shoulder stiffness turned out to be shoulder tendonitis and led to his first trip to the disabled list.
After Cordero's return from the DL, it was apparent that his velocity still was considerably down. His fastball usually registers between 88 and 91 mph but has been clocked in the mid-70s recently. Cordero consulted Dr. James Andrews concerning his loss of velocity and was diagnosed once again with shoulder tendonitis. At the time it was thought that he would not need to return to the disabled list. He was working on strengthening his arm and getting his velocity back up when he suffered his most recent injury, the strained lat.
While battling shoulder tendonitis issues this year, Cordero has pitched only 4 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking three. He has one hold and has notched an ERA of 2.08.
With Cordero out again, look for relief pitcher Jon Rauch to continue picking up the slack in the Nationals bullpen. He was the temporary solution when Cordero went on the shelf to start the season. Rauch has accumulated five saves in 12 1/3 innings pitched. He has also struck out 11 batters and walked just two while recording an ERA of 4.38.
Turning to the fantasy side of things, owners of Cordero should be very concerned. Despite optimism expressed by the team and Cordero, the righty has not shown the progress fantasy owners were hoping for. If you are in a shallow league and don't have the room to stash him, this might be the time to consider dropping him if you really need the roster space. If you have room on your roster, you can stash him while closely monitoring his progress. However, there is plenty of reason to be pessimistic about his chances of contributing heavily this season.
Rauch looks to get all of the save opportunities with Cordero sidelined. His fantasy value has been on the rise because of Cordero's shoulder issues and increases even more with the recent news on Cordero. Rauch most likely is not available in your league, but he remains on the waiver wire in some leagues. If Rauch is out there, he should be scooped up quickly. He appears to be worthy of a long-term investment.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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