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Tuesday, March 15, 2005; Page D05

Texas Rangers closer Francisco Cordero faced batters for the first time this spring, throwing 24 pitches in a simulated game yesterday.

"He felt comfortable throwing all of his pitches," pitching coach Orel Hershiser said. "You didn't see him shaking his arm, not doing anything body language-wise out of the normal."

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Cordero, an all-star last season when he set a team record with 49 saves, has been limited with soreness in his right shoulder. The problem first bothered him while playing in the Dominican Republic during the winter.

After three bullpen sessions in five days last week, Cordero threw against four minor league hitters yesterday.

Rotating after three pitches each, none of the batters hit a ball in play. After 18 pitches that way, Cordero treated only the last batter as an actual at-bat, getting a called third strike on a full count.

"It's another step. We know he feels good," said Manager Buck Showalter, who stayed to watch Cordero before going to the Rangers' spring training game against the Anaheim Angels in Tempe, Ariz. "It's good to see, regardless of who the hitters were."

Hershiser said the team hasn't decided what the next step will be for Cordero.

-- From News Services

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