Good and bad news for Nats
Cordero back with club, but Hill lands on disabled list
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals activated closer Chad Cordero from the bereavement list and placed right-hander Shawn Hill on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 12, due to a partial dislocation in his left shoulder and a strained right elbow.
Cordero, who was placed on the bereavement list on May 8, went back to Southern California to be with his ailing grandmother, Josie, who had brain cancer. Cordero said that his grandmother's illness was affecting him on the mound. On May 6, he had a tough time throwing strikes and gave up the game-tying run in the ninth inning against the Cubs. Cordero's grandmother passed away on Friday.
Cordero said he is now focused on baseball after seeing his grandmother for the last time. The funeral services are on Thursday, but Cordero will not attend.
"I went back, cleared my head, and I feel good now," Chad said. "[My father] said, 'Just stay focused,' and my grandma is watching down on me now. I wanted to be there for the service, but I think it was better for me to go back to California while she was still alive and while I had the chance to see her before she went.
"It think it was the right thing to do. I got to see her a couple of times before she passed on Thursday night. Spending time with my family helped a lot, too."
Cordero said he had bullpen sessions while he was in California, but manager Manny Acta said that Cordero will be eased back into the closer's role. For now, Cordero will be a middle innings/setup guy, while Jon Rauch will remain the closer.
As for Hill, he is expected to miss a month, but he hopes to be back sooner. He could begin a throwing program in 10 to 14 days.
Hill had been the ace and leader of the pitching staff. He is 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA in eight starts for Washington.
Hill hurt his shoulder running the bases on April 20 against the Marlins. He re-injured the shoulder on May 1, while trying to make a play at first base. By compensating for the shoulder, he ended up hurting his right elbow, which forced him to leave Friday's game after five no-hit innings against the Marlins at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.
Acta said that Hill should not have stopped pitching after he hurt the shoulder because there was no indication that he didn't have any problem throwing until last Friday.
"If the incident in San Diego didn't happen, I think I would be all right," Hill said. "I think I messed it up worse. It's tough to tell. It wasn't like I was getting lit up. My elbow felt fine initially, so I didn't think I was doing any harm to myself."
Hill was relieved that his elbow injury wasn't more serious. He has a history of elbow problems, and had elbow reconstruction after the 2004 season.
"It's just a little aggravating more than anything," Hill said. "It's nice to get the reassurance [that it wasn't serious], but we kind of had that in our mind."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.