HOUSTON -- When relief pitcher Francisco Cordero returned to the clubhouse Tuesday, his locker was decorated with American flags and he found a cake at his locker with the Stars and Stripes on the front. It was a gesture from his teammates for Cordero passing the exam to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Cordero, who was born in the Dominican Republic, took the final step towards gaining his citizenship Monday in Miami and is now awaiting a date to get sworn in as a U.S. citizen. For Cordero, it's a huge step in his life.
"I've always been blessed with being in the big leagues for so long and having a good career, and this next step makes me happier," he said. "I'm so glad that I did it and I'm happy about it. My family and everyone and all my friends and teammates were happy for me. It's real nice, and I feel good about it."
Cordero, who's on the disabled list with a sprained toe ligament in his right foot, said he passed the test in 15 minutes, going 6-for-6 in the written part of the exam.
"I was prepared," he said. "I was studying my book for many, many months since Spring Training. I went in and went 6-for-6. It's good when you go 6-for-6 in anything."
Seeing his locker decorated in red, white and blue by his teammates was something Cordero didn't expect.
"It made me feel really good, even though I'm on a new team," he said. "There are some good guys over here, good teammates, and once I walked in the clubhouse and saw that, it made me feel good. I took a picture with the cake and sent it down to the Dominican. They all thought it was nice."
Cordero's youngest son was born in Cincinnati in 2008, but he hopes becoming a U.S. citizen helps pave the way for his older son to get his citizenship one day.