Grateful to RangersNeal Cotts hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2009. He had Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery that season and has been facing an uphill battle ever since.Two years ago, in fact, Cotts thought his playing days might be over. He couldn’t find a job until he signed a minor league contract with an invitation to minor league camp with the Rangers prior to the 2012 season.Cotts pitched well enough in the spring to get bumped up to major league camp and almost made the 25-man roster. But, as has been the case the past few years for Cotts, an injury derailed his plans.Cotts suffered a strained left lat (back muscle) on March 31, and wound up spending the entire season at Triple A Round Rock once he was healthy. Cotts is back in camp with the Rangers this season, looking to make an improbable return to the big leagues. After all you’ve gone through, what would it mean to get back to the majors? It’d definitely be sweet. It’s been a roller-coaster ride of different injuries and teams telling me that you basically can’t pitch because of what a doctor says. I was fortunate the Rangers were willing to let me go on the field and try to prove that I’m healthy and can play. What was the process like two years ago? I couldn’t find a job because of my previous injuries, so I thought that probably was the end of it. The Rangers gave me an opportunity and I just tried to make the most of it. It just happened that I got hurt at the end. How tough was it suffering an injury so late last spring? It wasn’t fun, but there’s always obstacles you’ve got to go over, and the timing made a story of it. If it would’ve happened earlier, nobody would have cared. It was just something I had to get over. It took longer to get over than I thought, two months. How did you feel after the injury? I felt good. I went to Triple A and tried to do my job and tried to get better each time out. Finally, did you enjoy your time in Round Rock? It’s not good going there as a player, of course. But if you’re there, it’s a really nice city, but it’s one that I’d rather visit than play there. But it’s a good organization; they take care of you.Number of the day 1.94 Neal Cotts’ ERA in 2005 when he was part of the World Series-winning Chicago White SoxQuote of the day“Welcome back Elvis.” — Sign on Elvis Andrus’ locker. Venezuela was eliminated from the World Baseball ClassicInjury Report RHP Colby Lewis (flexor tendon surgery in July): Threw 40-pitch bullpen session Sunday. 1B Mitch Moreland (right quad tightness): Did not play Sunday and is day-to-day. LHP Martin Perez (broken left ulna): Expected to miss two months. RHP Kyle McClellan (shoulder soreness): Scheduled to pitch in Tuesday’s game. RHP Joakim Soria (Tommy John elbow surgery in April): Threw bullpen session Sunday. RHP Neftali Feliz (Tommy John elbow surgery in August.): Throwing out to 75 feet. C Eli Whiteside (mild left calf strain): Aggravated strain and is out 2-4 days. RHP Wilmer Font (mild shoulder tendinitis): Threw live batting practice Sunday.Videos of the day Manager Ron Washington discusses Mitch Moreland’s injury and spring to date, and Robbie Ross discusses his Sunday start, on our Foul Territory blog at star-telegram.com/rangers.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison