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Cordero returns to baseball; Peavy progresses

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  February 18, 2014 12:59 PM

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Fans at Fenway South were eager to get David Ortiz's autograph. (Peter Abraham/Globe Staff)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Fielding practice is a tedious spring training task for most pitchers. But Francisco Cordero enjoyed it on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old righthander was signed to a minor league contract over the weekend after sitting out all of last year. Cordero pitched so poorly in 2012 (a 7.55 earned run average in 47 games) that no team wanted to sign him.

“You make mistakes, you get hit. I don’t say any excuses. In 2012, I got hit real hard. But that is behind me,” Cordero said.

Now, 32 pounds lighter, Cordero is getting an opportunity.

“I appreciate everybody in the Red Sox organization for giving me a chance,” he said. “When I got the call from my agent that I had a deal from Boston and a chance to make the team, that was great, great news.”

A three-time All-Star with 329 career saves, Cordero said he “felt great” throwing in the bullpen.

“I’m pretty healthy right now. My arm is good. I feel like one of those young guys when you first get invited to spring training,” he said.

Cordero said his comeback is not about money, it’s more a desire to continue playing. The Sox have offered no guarantees beyond $1 million if he makes the team. Cordero’s contract contains no opt-out clause, although the Sox would likely grant Cordero his release if and another team offers a major-league roster spot.

Cordero said he would consider pitching in the minors if the Red Sox requested it.

“I’m not going to say no. I love this game and I want to pitch,” he said.

Also:

• Jake Peavy (right index finger) warmed up and threw some pitches from flat ground. But he did not throw in the bullpen. John Farrell said Peavy should be fully cleared soon.

• A.J. Pierzynski (left ankle) was not allowed to catch in the bullpen, much to his displeasure. "I fought them on it. But I understand it," he said.

• David Ortiz drew a crowd to his batting practice session. But the real shots were hit by Jonny Gomes, who has been hitting for weeks in Arizona.

• David Ortiz’s agent, Fernando Cuza, was waiting outside the clubhouse when his client was finished working out.

Cuza said it was merely a social call to touch base with Ortiz, something he does every year. But Cuza plans to stay around for a few days to speak to Red Sox principal owner John Henry.

Cuza said he has not yet engaged in any discussions with the Red Sox about an extension for Ortiz, who is signed though the end of the coming season. But he is prepared for that to happen.

“There is something to talk about. We’ll see what happens,” Cuza said.

Ortiz drew a large crowd to watch him take batting practice on Field 1. He launched several balls over the chain-link Green Monster, then retreated to the outfield.

Holding a bat, Ortiz stood in center field bantering with a group of teammates. When the workout ended, he signed autographs for fans along the backstop. One signature was on a champagne bottle.

• Farrell said Ryan Lavarnway has come along well at first base and could get in some games there.

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