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Rangers call up veteran reliever Cotts

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers called up left-hander Neal Cotts on Tuesday from Triple-A Round Rock, almost four years to the day when he last pitched in the Major Leagues. Cotts was 3-1 with a 0.78 ERA in 15 games for Round Rock, holding opponents to a .171 batting average. He had not allowed a hit to a left-handed hitter in 23 innings.

"I'm really excited, definitely a lot of ups and downs," Cotts said. "There was a period of time where I didn't think I would play again. This organization gave me another chance. I'm happy I was able to make it back up here."

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Cotts, who pitched for the White Sox on their 2005 World Series championship team, last appeared in a Major League game on May 25, 2009, while with the Cubs. His career has since been derailed by Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, plus a series of hip operations.

The Rangers signed the 33-year-old to a Minor League contract on Feb. 20, 2012, and brought him to Spring Training. Cotts was close to making the team before he strained a muscle in his left ribcage. He ended up spending 2012 in Round Rock, but tried again this past spring with another Minor League contract.

"The organization did a good job sticking with him, and he did a good job sticking with us," manager Ron Washington said. "The guy has pitched in a World Series, he's got big league [experience] and is a proven left-hander."

Said catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who worked with Cotts in Chicago: "When we had him with the White Sox, he was one of the better left-handers in baseball. He did a great job in Round Rock -- hopefully he can continue to do that here."

The Rangers now have four left-handers in their bullpen, but they also have to make a roster move on Wednesday to add pitcher Ross Wolf. Joseph Ortiz has options and could be the odd man out right now. Cotts replaced Josh Lindblom, who was optioned to Round Rock after Monday's game.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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