9/16/2013 11:19 P.M. ET
Cordero's comeback ends in Minors, for now
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- The Angels won't be making any more September callups past the five who were added to the club on Monday, and that means Chad Cordero's intriguing comeback attempt will not end in the Major Leagues in 2013.
Cordero, 31, made a name for himself as a closer for the Nationals, posting a 2.79 ERA and racking up 113 saves from 2005-07 and earning a spot in the 2005 All-Star Game. Then, shoulder surgery knocked him out for almost two years. Then, his 11-week-old daughter died in December 2010. Then, while struggling mentally, the Blue Jays released him in May 2011, prompting Cordero to spend most of the next couple of years as a retired father and husband.
But when he made an appearance at a Fullerton, Calif., scrimmage in early February, Cordero had shed about 40 pounds. And when Cordero's agent shared a cell-phone video of the outing with Jerry Dipoto, the Angels' general manager decided to give him a shot, signing him to a Minor League contract that essentially gave him a stage to pursue a comeback.
Cordero eventually earned an invitation to Spring Training, began the season at Class A Inland Empire, earned a promotion to Triple-A Salt Lake two weeks later and finished his first pro season in two years with a 5.53 ERA in 58 games.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Cordero's name came up "various times" this season, but the big leagues will have to wait until at least 2014.
"For being out for so long and coming back, I think it was an incredible journey for him," Scioscia said. "And I don't think it's over yet. I think he still has some more upside. I think he still has a chance to help some Major league teams.
"The Pacific Coast League is not an easy league to pitch in, especially with Chad being a fly-ball pitcher and trying to get stuff back. His stuff definitely picked up from Spring Training until the season ended, and I hope that he'll keep going and fill that little gap that's keeping him from getting to the Major Leagues again, because he's worked really hard to do it."
Hanson back in bigs, but future uncertain
OAKLAND -- Tommy Hanson will spend the next two weeks with the Angels. Beyond that, it gets very uncertain for the 27-year-old right-hander, the once-promising young starter who could very well get non-tendered in December.
"I'm not worried about that right now," said Hanson, slated to make roughly $4.5 million as a second-year arbitration-eligible player. "All I can control is what I do today. That's where my head's at. Obviously, not the funnest season, but I want to finish strong and just keep working to try to do better. That's all I can do right now."
With the Minor League playoffs now over, the Angels finally made their September callups on Monday, with Hanson joining right-handed starter Matt Shoemaker, right-handed reliever Robert Coello, infielder Tommy Field and left-handed-hitting first baseman Efren Navarro.
Hanson has had a rough season since being acquired from the Braves for reliever Jordan Walden in November. His step-brother died suddenly in April, prompting him to spend a week on the bereavement list and then another 18 days on the restricted list. He strained his forearm in late June, forcing him to be sidelined for more than three weeks. Throughout, he struggled with his command, velocity and ability to hold runners.
On Aug. 7, Hanson had a 5.59 ERA in 13 starts and was sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake.
"It has been frustrating, the ups and downs," Hanson said. "But, that's the way it is sometimes. You have to deal with it. Sometimes, you have to roll with the punches and keep working."
Hanson was hit and miss in the Pacific Coast League, ultimately posting a 4.50 ERA in six starts. During that time, he's been working on "simplifying" his delivery. And over his last two outings, both in the playoffs, Hanson found some success, combining to give up four runs in 12 1/3 innings.
But Angels manager Mike Scioscia didn't sound like a guy who will go out of his way to give Hanson another start in the big leagues. The Angels' skipper left open the possibility, but also said that he has "five guys in our rotation pitching well right now and I know they want to finish on a good note."
Scioscia is still searching for the Hanson who showed up on July 23, right after the DL stint, when he threw his fastball in the mid-90s, featured a sharp breaking ball and, for one 5 1/3-inning start, resembled the pitcher of 2011 -- the one who had established himself as one of the best young arms in the National League.
"The one game he came back off the DL, his stuff was eye-opening, and he hasn't repeated that," Scioscia said. "So, to say he's fixed everything, no, because if he fixed everything, you're going to see a Tommy Hanson much more in line with the way he threw that one game and much more in line with when he first came up to the Major Leagues. There's some things he's gotten better at, there's some things he's gotten more consistent at, but his last couple starts he had with us and the starts he had in Triple-A were not where he was that one outing. There's still more room for improvement."
Williams pitching at his best down the stretch
OAKLAND -- Right-hander Jerome Williams sure has picked a good time to pitch his best baseball.
Whether it's enough to stick around in the future remains to be seen.
After twirling seven innings of one-run ball against the Astros on Sunday, Williams has now won three straight starts despite giving up six runs in five innings to the Blue Jays in the middle outing.
Since Aug. 21 -- immediately following a nine-start stretch in which he went 0-6 with an 8.34 ERA -- the 31-year-old has seen the results of throwing more offspeed pitches to set up his dangerous sinker, posting a 3.74 ERA in six games (five starts) to lower his ERA to 4.65.
Like Tommy Hanson, Williams -- arbitration-eligible for a third year and slated to make roughly $3 million -- faces the possibility of being non-tendered in December.
"I'm not worried about that," Williams said. "I'm just going to try to do the things I need to do to be successful and just let everything play out. I just want to pitch to my best capabilities and let things fall out. I have no control over it, nobody does. At the end of the day, if I go out there and do my job, someone will see it and hopefully something will happen."
• Robert Coello missed nearly two months with inflammation in his right shoulder. But he spent two weeks pitching for Double-A Arkansas and said he feels 100 percent, after receiving a cortisone shot in his shoulder and a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow.
• In order to clear room on the 40-man roster for Matt Shoemaker and Efren Navarro, the Angels transferred center fielder Peter Bourjos (right wrist surgery) and reliever Kevin Jepsen (appendicitis) to the 60-day disabled list.
• Surprisingly, none of the Angels' callups included an additional left-handed reliever, leaving Buddy Boshers as the only southpaw in the bullpen for the remainder of the season. Nick Maronde (10 appearances) and Michael Roth (15) both spent time with the Angels this year and remained on the 40-man roster, but weren't brought up from Double-A.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.