Slimmed-down Cordero looks to earn spot with Red Sox

Slimmed-down Cordero looks to earn spot with Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Whether Francisco Cordero can mark his comeback attempt by earning a spot in the Red Sox' bullpen remains to be seen. But the one thing that is abundantly clear is that the righty has put himself in position to succeed.

There is a lot less of Cordero these days, and it's readily apparent at first glance.

"I feel great," said Cordero, who didn't hook on with any Major League teams last season. "I feel good. I got in great shape. I lost 32 pounds back in the Dominican. I'm healthy, which is the good thing about it. I'm clearly healthy right now, and my arm is good. I feel great. I feel like a little boy, one of those young guys when they first got invited to Spring Training. That's how I feel."

In a 14-year-career, Cordero has amassed 329 saves, most recently serving as a closer with the Reds in 2011.

If he can be effective again, Cordero could deepen Boston's setup crew and even provide some depth in the event that 38-year-old closer Koji Uehara has an injury.

For Cordero, the opportunity to resume his career with the Red Sox seemed almost too good to be true. He signed a Minor League deal that included no guarantees, except for an invitation to Major League camp.

"Why? Because they're World Series champs," Cordero said. "They gave me a chance and an opportunity to come here to Spring Training trying to make the team. I'm real glad and really happy that the World Series champs gave me a chance to be a part of what was and already is a great team."

Even though Cordero didn't pitch in 2013, he never considered himself retired.

"I never stopped thinking about that. I wanted to pitch last year," Cordero said. "Talking about myself, I can say it's not about the money. I love this game. I've been in this game for so long. My first time was in 1994. Twenty years later? It's just a love of the game. I really love this game. I have a passion for it. I want to keep pitching until I think I can't pitch. When I see it as being over, you have a good career and they say it's time to go home, then I'll say, 'I'm going home.' But that's not how I feel right now."

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.