04/10/2012 7:00 AM
BY: Michael Natelli, Big Train Insider
At 18 years old, Chad Cordero was drafted in the 26th round by the San Diego Padres, but chose to try and up his status a bit and instead attended Cal State Fullerton. At CSUF, Cordero put up fantastic numbers in relief. He was selected to the Big West All-Conference Team his freshman year and won the Fullerton Region MVP in the College World Series his junior year.
His success in college led to the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals) selecting him 20th overall in the 2003 Amateur Draft. Before the 2005 season, the Expos moved to Washington and Chad came with them.
That year, a 23-year-old Cordero recorded a franchise record and National League-leading 47 saves. Cordero was named to the National League All-Star Team, finished in the top 15 in MVP voting, and also placed in the top 5 in Cy Young voting.
Though Cordero is currently out of the major leagues, he is still around the game he loves. He currently serves as an assistant coach at Santa Margarita High School in Santa Margarita, California. Cordero plans to attempt a comeback in 2013, but before he does, he will be running this summer’s Big Train Baseball Celebrity Camp!
Being from California, Cordero hasn’t been back to the D.C area since leaving the Nationals after the 2008 season, and he looks forward to coming back. “I think it's going to be a lot of fun,” he says. “The fans in D.C. treated me really well. Being able to do this camp and give back to the fans that supported me means a lot. I had a great time while I was in D.C. I haven't been able to make it back there since I got hurt, so once this opportunity was presented to me I couldn't pass it up. I can't wait to reconnect with the fans and go to some games while I'm out there.”
To view the full transcript of Big Train Insider Michael Natelli’s interview with Chad Cordero, see below.
Bethesda Big Train: You spent the majority of your big league career with the Expos/Nationals organization. Talk about coming back to the D.C. area and reconnecting with that fan base.
Chad Cordero: I think it's going to be a lot of fun. The fans in D.C. treated me really well. Being able to do this camp and give back to the fans that supported me means a lot. I had a great time while I was in D.C. I haven't been able to make it back there since I got hurt, so once this opportunity was presented to me I couldn't pass it up. I can't wait to reconnect with the fans and go to some games while I'm out there.
BT: You’ve joined the Big Train team this summer as head coach of the celebrity camp. Having been the esteemed pitcher you were in your time, what do you hope to teach kids at the Big Train camp?
CC: My goal is to teach the kids the game and what it takes for them to make it to the next level. Most of all, I just want them to know that baseball was meant to be fun. In order for them to be successful they have to have fun. My plan is to tell the older kids not to stress about trying to get a college scholarship because I've seen a lot of good players struggle because they are so worried about impressing college coaches. They just have to relax and have fun.
BT: Any special surprises you'd like to unveil?
BT: Talk about your favorite memory in your time as a big leaguer.
BT: Obviously the Nationals are in a little better situation now than they were in your time. Do you think they have a shot at the playoffs? What do you think of Strasburg and Harper?
BT: Jonathan Hacohen of MLBReports.com recently said you’re getting the itch to play again, and says you’ll try and make a comeback in 2013. You’re only 30, and being a relief pitcher, obviously there’s still plenty of time for you to play. How have you gone about staying in shape, how does the arm feel, and where are you in your process of deciding whether you’ll play again?
CC: The plan is to make a comeback in 2013. My arm feels great. Coaching high school has allowed me to keep my arm in shape. I've been playing catch everyday and throwing live batting practice a couple times a week. I've also lost 20 pounds since I've been home. If I want to give myself the best chance at being successful in my comeback then I have to be in the best shape I've ever been in. I think I've done that. Now I just have to maintain it and hopefully it all works out.
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