The Orioles are interested in Francisco Cordero

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When the Reds signed Ryan Madson to a one-year, $8.5 million deal with a club option last week, it left Francisco Cordero without a logical landing spot to close ballgames in 2012. However, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun is hearing that the Orioles have expressed interest in the veteran right-hander.

Cordero, who turns 37 in May, posted a 2.45 ERA and 37 saves last season in Cincinnati, but also averaged just 5.4 K/9 and saw his fastball velocity dip to a career-low 93 mph. While he induced ground balls 50 percent of the time and had his lowest walk rate since 2007, the American League East isn’t exactly the best environment for his decline phase.

Recent reports have suggested that Jim Johnson is the front-runner to close games for the Orioles this season, but the possible addition of Cordero could perhaps put him back in the mix for a rotation spot. Former closer Kevin Gregg is still under contract for $5.8 million this season, but Connolly hears that the O’s would be willing to eat some of his salary in a potential trade. Gregg is coming off a season where he posted a 4.37 ERA and an ugly 53/40 K/BB ratio over 59 2/3 innings, so it’s difficult to envision many teams lining up for his services, even at a discounted rate.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.