Cordero, 26, has done well with Triple-A Syracuse. He is 4-1 with a 1.67 ERA, compiling six saves in 38 games.
“He’s been lights out,” said Nationals manager Davey Martinez. “He’s throwing 97 mph to 99 mph. He’s got a really good slider. The biggest thing for us after seeing him in spring training is that he’s throwing strikes both with his fastball and his slider.
“I talked to him earlier today. I told him I didn’t want him to change anything. Make sure you go through your routine like you’ve been doing and be ready to pitch. Pound the strike zone. The biggest thing here is you come in, the walks. If they hit you, they hit you. Don’t give anybody free bases.”
Cordero was understandably thrilled to earn his first major league assignment. He has focused on fine-tuning a few parts of his throwing mechanics over the last few weeks with the Chiefs.
“It’s a pleasure to see you guys again,” Cordero said through interpreter Octavio Martinez. “I have been working a lot with the pitching coach and just working on little stuff with my mechanics. I’ve been doing a lot in the training room, keeping my strength up in my arm. Everything I’ve been doing has been working so far and I’m happy to be here.”
Cordero had already left NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse last night before getting the call from manager Randy Knorr.
“Yesterday, we had a regular game, regular time. After the game, I went home,” Cordero said. “I was called by the manager to come back. He wanted to talk to me. So I borrowed a car to go back and have a word with him. He gave me the news. Obviously, very exciting. I called my wife and my family. As you know with the excitement, I did not sleep, so and here we are.”
Cordero has emphasized throwing strikes with his fastball. That has helped him to sprinkle in his other pitches.
“Primarily been working on my fastball command,” he said. “It’s definitely been working and working a little bit on my breaking pitches, both my curveball and my slider.
“I’ve been working a lot with the pitching coach (Brad Holman) down there, and in my case, it’s been working on head along with my arm so they coincide a little bit better and I’m able to get out in front with my arm.”
Cordero said he has had success in high-leverage situations, and he has been able to get out inherited runners and limit big innings.
“Down in the minor leagues, I have been having great success preventing runs from scoring and eliminating when you’re put in situations with a lot of traffic on the bases to minimize damage,” Cordero said. “Hopefully, I am able to do the same thing here if need be. But basically just try to help the team any way I can and hope the results are there.”
* Today is left-hander Tommy Milone’s second start this season with the Nats. Against the Marlins, he allowed three runs in the first inning, but then did a nice job of keeping Miami off the scoreboard for the next four innings. In five innings, he scattered eight hits, walking none and striking out six batters.
“He got ahead of hitters, which is a big key for him,” said Davey Martinez. “And fastball usage. He doesn’t throw hard, but he uses his fastball really well, in and out, and we told him that. And he settled down. I know the first couple of innings, he was a little nervous. Once he settled down he pitched really well.
“So I expect the same thing from him today. Just go out there and pitch the way he is capable of pitching. He’s been pitching good in Triple-A. He actually pitched well kept us in the ball game in Miami. Hopefully, he comes out today and does the same thing.”