Found May 23, 2013 on Fox Sports:
Joe Bick rattles off the date -- Feb. 10, 2012. It was the day Bick, an agent, broke difficult news to his client, left-hander Neal Cotts. "Neal, it's heartbreaking for me to tell you this, but I think we've run out of chances," Bick recalls saying. "I'd be surprised if we're able to get you a job." No team would take a chance on Cotts, who had undergone Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in 2009 and four surgeries on his right hip starting in '10. But Bick was wrong about Cotts' career being over. Cotts, 33, made his first appearance since May 25, 2009, on Tuesday night, pitching a scoreless inning in the Rangers' 1-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics. He was even better Wednesday, striking out four in two scoreless innings in a 3-1 victory over the A's. As studies in perseverance go, Cotts is difficult to top. While out of baseball, he gave pitching lessons at Slammers Training Academy in Lake Forest, Ill., -- and threw bullpen sessions on his own, waiting for a team to call. "Every once in a while, a scout would come in and look at high school and college kids and take a glance at me," Cotts says. Scouts often liked what they saw, Bick says, but then they would request Cotts' medical records. Shortly after that, the conversations almost always ended. Cotts, a member of the 2005 World Series champion White Sox, had undergone surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip and three more operations after the hip became infected. The Yankees brought him to minor-league camp in 2011 and then released him, telling him he could not pass their physical. The Phillies were ready to sign Cotts later that season but backed off, citing the same concerns. "His medical file is the biggest medical file I've ever seen in my life," Bick says. "I've got to send like six e-mails to get it all through." But just days after Bick braced Cotts for the likely end of his career, the agent spoke with Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. "I asked him if he was looking for left-handed pitching," Bick recalls. "He said, 'Absolutely.' I told him the whole Neal Cotts story. And I said, 'I will tell you right now -- there is no way in hell he can pass your physical because of his hip.' "Jon says, 'I don't care. If he's good enough, we'll find a way.'" Sounds simple, but it wasn't. The Yankees, Bick says, released Cotts out of fear that they might incur a financial obligation if the pitcher suffered another injury on their watch. Bick recalls Yankees GM Brian Cashman telling him, "If I put him on the 40-man roster, it could be a situation where I'm paying him workman's compensation for the rest of his life." Cashman declined comment, citing medical confidentiality. But he did not dispute that such a conversation took place. Why, then, were the Rangers willing to take a chance on Cotts? Daniels cites three reasons: *Past experience with players who had medical red flags, but defied their prognoses. "There are times where we have walked past a player -- particularly in the draft -- and then saw them succeed," Daniels says. *A sense that Cotts was motivated only by his desire to return to the majors, and not financial gain. Daniels recalls Bick telling him, "Technically, we can't waiver his workman's compensation rights. But that's not what this is about. This is not about getting someone to pay his medical bills. He just wants another chance." *A report from Scot Engler, a Rangers professional scout who went to see Cotts throw and came away impressed. The Rangers signed Cotts to a minor-league deal on Feb. 20, 2012. His physical? "Neal called me and said they took my heart rate and blood pressure and said, 'You're good,'" Bick recalls, chuckling. Cotts, who had missed the entire 2010 and '11 seasons, reported to minor-league camp, but lasted only about a week before the Rangers summoned him to the major-league side. He then had a big spring, competing with fellow lefty Robbie Ross for a bullpen spot. But in the final week of games, Cotts strained his left lat muscle. He did not pick up a ball for a month. "It was a definite setback," Cotts says. "But compared to what I had gone through the last couple of years, I didn't think much of it. I wasn't happy. But I knew it was something I could work through." He returned and spent the entire season at Triple A. Daniels says Cotts' command was never quite the same, but the Rangers offered the pitcher another minor-league deal last November, and Cotts jumped at it. "We didn't look around at anyone else," Bick says. "We knew it would be a waste of time." Cotts failed to make the Rangers out of spring training, but after working with Triple A pitching coach Brad Holman on the angle of his pitches, he began to get stunning results. In 26 innings combined between the majors and minors, Cotts has struck out 46 and walked only five. "Pretty much everyone that went in there and saw him the first six weeks said, 'You've got to get this guy up there,'" Daniels says. Daniels says that three or four clubs contacted him after the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo mentioned Cotts' Triple A stats in his Sunday notes column on May 12. Those teams said that they could give Cotts an immediate major-league job, but Daniels balked, saying that the reliever was in the Rangers' plans. On Tuesday, nearly four years after his last major-league appearance, Cotts made his return. "In the bullpen, I was pretty amped up, pretty gung-ho, excited -- and a little bit nervous," Cotts says. "I guess you could say my heart was racing. "But once I stepped on the mound, I calmed down pretty quickly. I was still more amped up than I would want to be. But it felt pretty normal." He had a familiar catcher -- his former White Sox teammate, A.J. Pierzynski. After his outing was over, Pierzynski flipped him the ball and said, "Welcome back." "He's a great guy. I'm so happy for him," Pierzynski says. "I told him he looked the same except that he throws cutters and sliders now. He used to just blow guys away." Different pitcher or not, Cotts never accepted that his career might be over, even as he and his wife, Jamie, became the parents of a son, Maddon, 4, and daughter, Stella, who is almost 2. Cotts said that Jamie frequently would ask him if he wanted to continue pitching. Cotts would respond, "Yes," and Jamie would tell him, "Then keep doing what you need to do in case something happens." "I never got any feeling that she would want me to shut it down -- just the opposite," Cotts says. "I kept throwing bullpens. I didn't go full bore in workouts, but I tried to keep my arm ready. Hopefully somebody would take a look, and we would go from there." He got the chance that not even his agent expected. He wouldn't quit.

Jose Canseco fondly recalls time with Rangers

FORT WORTH, Texas Jose Cansecos 2 seasons with the Texas Rangers were marked by him having a ball bounce off his head for a home run and blowing out his arm while pitching. While those incidents wont exactly make Cansecos list of top career accomplishments, he had nothing but positive things to about his time with the Rangers. "The ballpark was gorgeous," he said Thursday...

Derek Lowe Clears Waivers, Can Either Accept Minor League Assignment or Become Free Agent

Derek Lowe has become quite the journeyman. He now faces another career decision. Lowe cleared waivers after being designated for assignment by the Rangers, according to reports. Lowe can either accept the assignment to Triple-A Round Rock or he can choose to become a free agent. Lowe could opt for free agency in the hopes of catching on with another major league team, but it’s...

Yu Darvish Bobble Head

  Courtesy of Texas Rangers Here is a quick peek at the upcoming Yu Darvish bobble head doll.  The Texas Rangers will be handing out bobble heads to the first 20,000 Texas Ranger fans on June 11, 2013 when the Texas host the Cleveland Indians.  If you take a good look at the photo, you will notice that the Yu Darvish bobble head doll has included a strikeout counter.  This...

Rangers option RHP Burns for Wolf's spot start

The Texas Rangers have optioned right-handed reliever Cory Burns to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Ross Wolf for a spot start Wednesday against Oakland. Wolf will be the second pitcher in three days to make his first major league start for the Rangers after previous stints with other teams as a reliever. Josh Lindblom lost to the A's on Monday. The 30-year-old Wolf last...

Prospect Profile: Jurickson Profar | INF | TEX

As a rule, we fantasy owners love to own prospects before our fellow owners. There’s little as rewarding as grabbing a minor leaguer before he becomes a household name and then watching as he develops into a stud. But how do you sort the big-timers from part-timers? Prospect Profile is here to help. This week we examine Rangers uber-prospect, Jurickson Profar.Player Name: Jurickson...

Darvish gives up one run in loss

Where, oh where has the Rangers offense gone?  I feel like they used it all in the Detroit series.  Or something. All I know is I want it back. Yu Darvish pitched six frames, and the only Oakland run was a home run by Yeonis Cespedes.  Honestly, Darvish wasn’t his sharpest tonight, but he was still good enough for a win. If only he’d had a little offense to help him out. Unfortunately...

Rangers top A's in Wolf's first big league start

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- David Murphy and Adrian Beltre homered in a three-run first inning, Ross Wolf was strong in his first major league start and the Texas Rangers avoided a sweep with a 3-1 victory against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday. The 30-year-old Wolf was making his first big league appearance since Oct. 1, 2010, as a reliever with Oakland. He retired the first nine...

Rangers scratch Nick Tepesch with blister

The Texas Rangers have scratched right-handed starting pitcher Nick Tepesch from today's regularly-scheduled appearance against the Oakland Athletics due to a blister on his throwing hand, according to T.R. Sullivan of Tepesch developed a blister on the middle finger of his right hand during his last start Friday night against the Detroit Tigers. Texas doesn'...

Rangers release Lowe, add Teahen as minor-leaguer

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Rangers have placed right-hander Derek Lowe on unconditional release waivers and signed utility man Mark Teahen (TEA-en) to a minor league contract. The moves Thursday came three days after the Rangers designated Lowe for assignment after the 39-year-old allowed 13 runs in 13 innings over nine relief appearances. Lowe made the team in spring training...

Profar more bark than bite for Texas

I tried not to pivot this week's column on Jurickson Profar. Tried my damndest. Unfortunately the infatuation with the Rangers infielder has reached a fever pitch, gesturing the situation calls for analysis despite my predilection to the contrary. Granted, Profar has the ilk to warrant mentioning, as the 20-year-old entered the season as the top prospect in the game thanks to...

Jose Canseco Joins Fort Worth Cats

Former MLB slugger Jose Canseco is back in Texas to start the season with his new team as a player/coach. No it is not with the Texas Rangers (thank the lord) or for the Houston Astros (though he could be one of their more productive hitters) but rather with the Fort Worth Cats of the Independent United League. For those not familiar with the Cats, they are an independent baseball...

TV Ratings: Mixed Numbers For NASCAR’s All-Stars (Also: NBA Lottery, Texas Rangers)

Viewership declined again for NASCAR’s All-Star Race. In other news, the NBA Draft Lottery had a slight decline on ESPN, and the Texas Rangers hit a season-high on Fox Sports Southwest. Mixed Numbers For NASCAR [...]

Gray Sets New High Mark

WEST SACRAMENTO - On the same night that the Oakland A's preseason top pitching prospect was dominating the Texas Rangers in the major leagues, the A's current top pitching prospect was putting together a notable performance of his own for Triple-A Sacramento.

Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America Derek Holland has long been a pitcher that has caught the attention of the fantasy community as a potential breakout candidate. And the 26-year-old lefty has gotten off to quite the hot start this year. In 60 innings so far, Holland has posted a 3.30 xFIP accompanied by a 22% strikeout-rate and 5.8% walk-rate. For those that drool...

Rangers-Mariners Preview

Joe Saunders is a completely different pitcher at home than on the road, and his career outings against the Texas Rangers have also been an indicator of that. The left-hander looks to improve to 10-0 in his career at Safeco Field and help the Seattle Mariners end a six-game losing streak Friday night when he faces a Rangers team that has fared well against southpaws. Saunders ...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.