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04/22/08 7:29 PM ET
Cordero hurting for save opportunities
Closer only has two save chances in first year with Reds
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- It seems almost ironic. The Reds spent $46 million to land free-agent closer Francisco Cordero. And now they can't give him any games to close. Entering Tuesday, the Reds ranked 30th out of 30 Major League teams in save opportunities with two. Cordero saved both of those games, with the last one coming on April 10 at Milwaukee. "I want to get some saves because it shows we're winning, but you just want us to get back on track," said Cordero, who signed a four-year contract in November. "You want to win, it doesn't matter if I get a save situation or not. I'm sure it will come." Of course, the Reds have to get leads for Cordero to protect them. Opponents have scored first in 12 of the last 14 games, and big comebacks are proving difficult. "The games we're winning are either blowouts or we come back and win in extra innings at home," said Cordero, who came into Tuesday with a 1-0 record and 1.13 ERA in eight games this season. "We're not playing the best right now. But it's still early. There are 142 games left. I'm sure I'll get my chances and get a lot of save situations. I just pray to God that I am ready for it and healthy." Cordero's save statistics have grown cobwebs before at times before this season. Last season while with the Brewers, he had no saves and just one save opportunity between June 20 and July 15. The right-hander racked up a club-record 44 saves before the All-Star year ended. "Twice I went about 10-15 days without a save," Cordero said. "I remember in 2006 [with Milwaukee] I sat out for 10 days without pitching. We went through a stretch where we lost 10 in a row." History indicates that Cordero won't be cheated from save chances over the course of a season. Over his last four seasons, he's averaged 38 saves and 70 appearances. Manager Dusty Baker has tried to keep Cordero sharp by working him into non-save situations. "He'll have plenty of opportunities, trust me," Baker said. "I'm waiting for the day when you ask me 'Dusty, are you really using him again today?'"
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.