Notes: Cordero may pitch in Classic

Notes: Cordero may pitch in Classic

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Francisco Cordero was watching Tuesday night.

He saw Venezuela, down 2-1, load the bases on a couple of walks and an error with two outs in the ninth inning. He saw Duaner Sanchez avoid a complete national disaster back in the Dominican Republic by getting Edgardo Alfonzo to fly out to right to end the game.

He knows that could have been him and it might be again soon if Dominican Republic reliever Damaso Marte is injured.

Marte may have to drop out of the World Baseball Classic because of a sore shoulder, and Dominican Republic officials may want Cordero to replace him.

Cordero originally decided to sit out the World Baseball Classic because of concerns about his right shoulder.

Now the shoulder is getting stronger, the Dominican Republic is getting ready for the semifinal game on Saturday in San Diego and club officials acknowledged Wednesday there are unsubstantiated rumblings that Cordero's fellow countrymen will ask him to join them for the final two games.

Cordero, who had some shoulder stiffness early in spring, said nobody has called him but it's something he might now consider.

"I'm really in the middle," Cordero said. "If I get the call, I'd think about it, really think about it. So far nothing has happened. If they called, I'd talk to the manager and the general manager."

That conversation could happen. Marte left the team on Wednesday to have his shoulder examined in Pittsburgh.

"I haven't been contacted, the Rangers haven't been contacted and I haven't had a chance to talk to Coco," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We support him and whatever decision he makes. I understand he's under some pressure with national pride at stake."

The Rangers are more concerned about getting Cordero ready for Opening Day, and he took another step in that direction by throwing 21 pitches in a morning "B" game on the back field.

Cordero faced seven batters in the equivalent of 1 2/3 innings, retiring the first four hitters, and then giving up a single and a double for a run. But he closed out his morning by striking out the last batter he faced.

"It's looking good so far," Cordero said. "This is my second outing. The first outing felt pretty good, today I felt even better. I'm getting closer. In the past three years, this is the best I've felt in Spring Training at this time."

That's good enough for the Rangers. The Dominican Republic might like hearing that as well.

"It's a tough time for Coco," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's balancing a lot of things and trying to make a lot of people happy. I don't think people realize the pressure on this guy. There's a lot more going on than just the Texas Rangers, and anybody who has been in the Dominican knows what I'm talking about."

Fifth-starter watch: In the latest installment of the fifth-starter competition, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey allowed five runs in four innings against the Angels on Wednesday in Tempe.

More significant was Daniels saying he feels the Rangers can still find their fifth starter in camp even though Josh Rupe is down with an elbow injury.

"I'm encouraged by the way some of the young guys have thrown," Daniels said. "You'd like Josh to be 100 percent but other guys have competed for the spot with varying degrees of success.

"We have our [scouts] in other camps having conversations, but it's not something we are aggressively pursuing and it's not out there. If we are presented with something that makes us better, we'll push on it. But that has not been presented."

Dickey retired the first six hitters, then allowed eight of the next nine batters to reach base. A double-play ball and execution on a cutoff got him out of the third with just two runs, but Dickey started the fourth with two walks, then gave up a three-run homer to Casey Kotchman. He then ended his day by retiring three straight hitters.

"I can't watch the scoreboard as much as the hitters' reactions," Dickey said. "I basically gave up two hard-hit balls and a couple of excuse-me hits. I didn't help myself by walking a couple of batters.

"I had a good knuckleball but it was somewhat erratic."

Showalter agreed with that assessment.

"It's not a finished product but he goes through periods where it's pretty good," Showalter said. "We've got to decide if it's there yet. That's a pretty tough call."

Padilla, Wilson throw: Vicente Padilla also pitched in the "B" game against the Royals, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks in three innings of work. He threw 61 pitches.

"With arm strength and pitch counts, he did a lot of things to get to the next level," Showalter said. "He got stronger as he went along today."

C.J. Wilson pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits in a game the Rangers lost, 5-1.

Rupe admits he was hurting: Rupe, back in camp after a trip to Texas, admitted his elbow has been hurting for a couple of weeks before he finally told the Rangers' medical staff on Monday morning.

"It was gradual," said Rupe, who last pitched on Sunday. "When it first started it wasn't bad. I had pitched with worse than that. But it got considerably worse and the last outing was pretty bad."

Rupe has been diagnosed with inflammation in his elbow and has been shut down for 10 days. After that he'll resume a gradual throwing program and he's not expected to be ready for the start of the season.

Rupe had made two starts this spring in the fifth starter's spot, but Juan Dominguez will be on the mound Friday when the Rangers play the Chicago White Sox in Tucson. Rookie Thomas Diamond is expected to follow Dominguez.

Briefly: Kevin Mench was 1-for-3 with an RBI double against the Angels and is now 10-for-21 with 11 RBIs in seven games this spring. ... The Rangers sent pitcher Joselo Diaz back to the Minor Leagues on Tuesday. That leaves 53 players in camp, including 29 pitchers. ... Outfielder Larry Grayson had a home run off Kansas City's Jimmy Gobble for the Rangers' only run in the "B" game. ... Royals third baseman Alex Gordon, their No. 1 draft pick out of the University of Nebraska, is the king of "B" games. He is 5-for-9 against the Rangers this spring with home runs off Cordero and Jon Leicester.

Coming next: Kameron Loe pitches against Kevin Correia for the San Francisco Giants at 2:05 p.m. CT Thursday at Surprise Stadium. Barry Bonds is not expected to make the trip. Loe's last start was washed out by rain on Sunday and he threw 60 pitches in a simulated game instead.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.