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Nats' Cordero placed on bereavement list

MILWAUKEE -- Chad Cordero could not focus on baseball with
his grandmother dying in California, so he asked Nationals manager
Manny Acta for a leave of absence on Monday.

Chad Cordero Cordero

Family comes first, Acta agreed, and the Nationals placed the
struggling reliever on the bereavement list Tuesday. They called up
pitcher Winston Abreu to take Cordero's place.

"He came to me yesterday and said how it was affecting him
mentally and how his mind wasn't on baseball right now and he
needed a couple of days off," Acta said. "I figured you might as
well do that because you give him a couple of days, it's just a
matter of time before his grandmother passes away and then he is
going to have to go to the funeral."

Cordero's grandmother, Josie Cordero, has brain cancer and
Cordero said Sunday he wasn't sure if she'd live through the week.
Acta said Tuesday she had not passed away yet.

According to league rules, players on the bereavement list must
miss as least three games but no more than seven before returning
to their club.

"I think it's a great rule," said Acta, who said he hoped to
have Cordero soon, but conceded he'd probably take the full
allotment of days.

Cordero has four saves and a 4.70 ERA in 15 appearances. The
right-hander also has blown four save opportunities, including a
4-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. During his absence, Acta
said set-up man Jon Rauch will close.

Abreu, a 30-year-old right-hander, went 1-0 with one save and a
0.50 ERA in 10 games with Columbus, the Nationals' Triple-A
affiliate.

The Nationals, who came into Tuesday night's game with the
Milwaukee Brewers with the worst record in baseball at 9-23, also
made two other roster moves in an attempt to shake things up in the
midst of their second losing streak of six games already this
season.

Washington called up right-handed pitcher
Jason Simontacchi to
start against the Brewers, as well as veteran third baseman
Tony Batista.

The Nationals placed reliever Ryan Wagner on the 15-day disabled
list, retroactive to May 7, with right rotator cuff inflammation
and designated infielder Josh Wilson for assignment.

Acta wasn't happy that the 24-year-old Wagner apparently had
been hurting for several weeks without telling anyone.

"That's his decision. Obviously we want to know, but he never
said anything until yesterday," Acta said. "If doesn't talk, I'm
a manager, I can't read minds."

Wagner was 0-2 with a 5.74 ERA in 14 appearances for the
Nationals. He's scheduled to have an MRI exam on the shoulder
Thursday in Washington. Wilson hit .053 with three runs scored in
15 games.

The 33-year-old Batista has played in 1,229 big-league games for
six teams in his 10-year career. He was hitting .290 with six
homers and 22 RBIs in 30 games at Triple-A Columbus.

"He was playing very well over there, as he should," Acta
said. "He's going to give us that experience swinging the bat off
the bench."