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OnBaseMachine
03-12-2008, 06:55 PM
This is another reason I love this signing - his presence can only help the young Dominicans like Cueto and Volquez.

Cordero mentors young Reds
BY JOHN FAY | JFAY@ENQUIRER.COM

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Reds signed closer Francisco Cordero because of what he can do in the ninth inning.

But in the bargain, they got a mentor to some of their prized young players.

Every morning Cordero sits at a long table in the clubhouse with the Latin players. They chat in Spanish about baseball and life.

Cordero, a 32-year-old right-hander, has nine seasons in the big leagues. He's what Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto want to be: A dominant big league pitcher.

Reds manager Dusty Baker has noticed Cordero's auxiliary role.

"He's very good with the young Latins," Baker said. "He knows what's going on. He listens through his eyes. You can tell."

Cordero, like Cueto and Volquez, is from the Dominican Republic.

"I'll talk to anybody," Cordero said. "If I can give them some advice, I will. They ask questions. We sit at the same table, we talk about baseball. They're pretty good at it. They do what they're told."

Volquez and Cordero know each other from their days in the Texas Rangers organization.

Volquez was quick to tap Cordero's knowledge of hitters.

"He talks about hitters and what you can throw in a certain situations," Volquez said. "He tells us: 'I'm getting old. You better listen.' "

Volquez speaks fluent English. Cueto does not. The Reds added a Spanish-speaking coach in Juan Lopez this year and Baker also is fluent in Spanish, but it helps to have a mentor as a player.

"Cordero has done a real good job with those kids," Baker said. "It really helps to have him and Mario Soto here. They have a great player and a great coach showing them how to do it. I'm glad I have both those guys here."

Soto, a Reds Hall of Famer, has worked with both Cueto and Volquez at the Reds' complex in the Dominican. But he will return there once the season starts.

Cordero, obviously, will be with the team. He think that will be the case with Cueto and Volquez also.

"I don't think they're good," Cordero said. "They are good. They're here for a reason. They're here because they're pretty good. They have good stuff. I think they're ready to play. They're ready to pitch. They've got big league stuff. I believe they can do a good job in the big leagues."

That certainly appears to be the case. Both Cueto and Volquez have wowed the front office staff and scouts with their pitching so far in camp.

Volquez struck out eight New York Yankees in four innings Monday. He gave up two runs on six hits.

"The only balls they hit hard were breaking balls up," Baker said. "That's something he's working on. When that gets better with the break ball - wow! Plus, he's got a little attitude.

"He's hungry. He has certain desires that come with hunger and need."

Both Cueto and Volquez have a trait Baker saw with Cordero in Baker's Cubs days.

"I hated to see him come in the game," Baker said. "You knew he was going to at you and come at you with strikes. And he wanted to be there. You can tell some guys don't want to be there."

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20080312/SPT04/803120368/