Cordero, Hernandez relish experience
Pair takes it all in knowing future honors are not guaranteed
DETROIT -- Reliever Chad Cordero said that he is proud of the fact that he and Livan Hernandez are the first two players to represent the Nationals in an All-Star Game. In fact, they are the first players to represent a Washington team in a Midsummer Classic since Frank Howard donned a Senators uniform in 1971.
Cordero admitted he was nervous before the game. He realized that millions of people will watch him perform on the mound for the first time.
"You have the best players in the league. Hopefully, I get to face them, but it's kind of nerve-wracking," Cordero said before the game.
It turns out that Cordero was nervous until he entered the 2005 All-Star Game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning. And Cordero didn't appear nervous at all as he struck out hometown favorite Ivan Rodriguez to end the inning. Even more surprising is that Cordero struck out Rodriguez with a slider. During the first half of the season, Cordero threw nothing but fastballs.
"I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity because it may never happen again. I just went out there and had a good time with it." Cordero said. "It felt real good to strike out Ivan Rodriguez."
After being involved in the All-Star festivities, Hernandez said he needed a little rest and that he will not start against the Brewers on Thursday as scheduled. Instead, according to Hernandez, he will pitch on Friday against Milwaukee, though the club has yet to make any formal decision.
"Being here for three days is not easy," Hernandez said. "I don't want to try to do something and [then] the body will not take it."
Hernandez was not tired on Tuesday as he pitched one inning and gave up two runs on two hits in the bottom of the fourth inning. He gave up a two-run single to Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.
It was Hernandez's first-ever appearance in an All-Star Game.
Last season, he was selected to his first Midsummer Classic, but didn't play in the game. Hernandez believes he didn't play in the game because he was being saved just in the case the game was tied.
Hernandez has accomplished so much during his nine-year career, such as helping the Marlins win the 1997 World Series and the winning the Silver Slugger Award last year. But Hernandez never dreamed that he would be an All-Star in his career, let alone a two-time All-Star.
"There are a lot of surprises in baseball. Being an All-Star is something special and you need to enjoy it because you don't know when you will come back again," Hernandez said. "You need to enjoy the moment, especially with your family here."
Hernandez said he is ready to pitch in the second half despite playing with an inflamed right knee. According to Hernandez, the knee will not be 100 percent until he has arthroscopic surgery, which he is thinking about having after the season.
"The knee is good. It needed a little rest for the second half. It will not be perfect, but it will be good [to play]," Hernandez said.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.