Quick Links

Hail to the Chief again

822401.png

Hail to the Chief again

Chad Cordero always figured he'd stand on the mound at Nationals Park in 2012 and fire a pitch toward the plate. He just never figured he'd do it wearing shorts and flip-flops, nor that he'd do it 10 minutes before the actual first pitch of a game was thrown.

"It's just kind of weird to put on a Nationals jersey in general," Cordero said with a laugh this afternoon. "I never thought I'd be able to come back here and throw out a first pitch. It's cool. It's unbelievable."

Four years removed from his last in-game appearance at Nationals Park and a year removed from his retirement announcement, Cordero was back in D.C. tonight, honored by his former team before it played the Braves.

Still the Nationals' all-time leader (by leaps and bounds) with 113 career saves, Cordero's career came to a screeching halt in April 2008 when he tore the labrum in his right shoulder. Not tendered a contract by former general manager Jim Bowden following the season, the reliever did recover and return to the big leagues with the Mariners in 2010, but made only nine appearances.

After a failed attempt to make another comeback with the Blue Jays last season, Cordero decided to call it a career. He wanted to spend more time with his wife, Jamie, and their children, especially after the couple lost daughter Tehya to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 2010.

But a few months ago, Cordero (still only 30) admittedly got "the itch" to return to the mound. He's since lost 40 pounds and worked his arm back into shape. His plan: Play winter ball and hope to sign on with a professional organization for next spring.

"I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get back up here," he said. "I'm willing to start off at Double-A, Triple-A. Even if I have to go to independent ball just to prove I can pitch again, I'm going to do whatever it takes to hopefully one day make it back to the big leagues and stick again."

Cordero still closely follows and roots for the organization that made him a first-round draft pick in 2003 and gave him the opportunity to save a franchise-record 47 games only two years later.

Which is why he couldn't wait to pull a flat-brimmed, red curly W cap over his eyes this evening, walk to the mound, wave to a crowd that cheered and chanted his nickname "Chief" and then throw out the ceremonial first pitch to reliever Drew Storen.

"I still have a connection here, and I want to see them succeed," he said. "I try to follow them as much as possible. I still love it here. The Nationals were my family for four years, and you can't just cut ties with your family."

Quick Links

Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon homered twice and drove in five runs, Joe Ross returned from the minors to allow one run over a career high-tying eight innings, and the Washington Nationals routed the Seattle Mariners 10-1 on Tuesday night.

Bryce Harper added his 14th homer and Jayson Werth hit his seventh off Chris Bergman (1-2), who allowed all of the Nationals' runs and 14 of their 15 hits.

Rendon doubled before his second homer -- and seventh of the season -- completed an eight-run fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman also had three hits.

Mike Zunino homered off Ross (2-0) in his return from his own minor league stint. Robinson Cano was hitless in his first game back from the disabled list following a thigh injury as Seattle dropped its fourth straight.

Ross showed no signs of the late April struggles that ended with a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse. He yielded five hits and a walk while striking out six, and retired 12 straight batters after a leadoff single to begin the game.

By the time Seattle finally put multiple runners aboard, Washington had already opened a 10-0 lead.

Rendon's second-inning shot around the left field foul pole made it 2-0.

Then Werth, Harper and Rendon all connected in the fourth, helping the Nationals score seven of their eight runs in the inning with two outs.

MORE NATIONALS: WATCH: Werth, Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nationals win

Quick Links

WATCH: Werth and Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nats win

WATCH: Werth and Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nats win

The Nationals had a big day at the plate Tuesday night.

Washington hit four home runs, including three in an eight-run fourth inning, in its 10-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

Third baseman Anthony Rendon hit two home runs – the first a two-run blast to left field in the second inning and the second a three-run shot to center in the fourth. He finished the game 3-for-4 with five RBIs.

Prior to Rendon’s second homer in the fourth inning, left fielder Jayson Werth hit a two-run blast to left field, which was followed by a solo shot from right fielder Bryce Harper in the next at-bat.

Harper’s homer was measured at 450 feet.

At the end of the fourth, the Nationals led 10-0, which also included an RBI single from catcher Matt Wieters and an RBI triple from shortstop Trea Turner.

Tuesday night’s contest was the first of a three-game home series against the Mariners, who play in the American League. The Nationals and Mariners also will play Wednesday and Thursday.

Earlier this season in a 23-5 win over the New York Mets on April 30, Rendon went 6-for-6 with three home runs and 10 RBIs to become the first player to accomplish that feat since at least 1913. He now has seven homers this season.

Harper’s homer was his 14th of the season, tying him for first in the National League with the Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman. The New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge is first with 15.

Though he did not have a home run Tuesday night, Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has 13 for the season.

MORE NATIONALS: 2017 MLB Power Rankings: As Bryce Harper goes, so do the Nationals