One of the happiest stories of Nationals spring training isn’t happening at Nationals spring training. It is happening three time zones away, in the Arizona desert, each time a pitcher so skinny you may not recognize him takes the mound. The flat brim, though, would be a dead giveaway.
More than two years since his last big league appearance, and seven years since he helped reintroduce Washington to how good baseball can be, Chad Cordero is trying to come back. The Angels, his hometown team, promoted him to major league camp yesterday. The day before, Cordero yielded a home run on the first pitch he threw. He was okay with that.
“I know everything is going to come back,” Cordero said, according to the Associated Press. “My arm felt great, like I had good action on it. Just getting that first one out of the way and realizing that I can do it again, that’s what means the most to me. I’m not even worried about results right now. I’m just so grateful to be out there and pitching again.”

Cordero, now 31, is the closest thing the Nationals have to an all-time great. In 2005, the year baseball came back and shook the stands at RFK, Cordero walked tightropes all summer and saved 47 games. He weighed 225 pounds then; he told the AP this week he now weighs 188.