Neal Cotts almost retired before signing with the Rangers in 2012

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Lefty reliever Neal Cotts signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Brewers yesterday. What many don’t know about Cotts is that he almost hung up his spikes before signing a minor league deal with the Rangers going into the 2012 season, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

As Haudricourt explains, Cotts had four procedures done on his hip and he also underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009. He was never sure he’d ever return to the mound, and even if he did, if he’d be effective. In 31 2/3 innings with Triple-A Round Rock in 2012, Cotts posted a 4.55 ERA.

The Rangers brought him back on another minor league deal in 2013, and he flourished, finishing the season with a 1.11 ERA in 57 innings in the big leagues. He was able to use his success to earn $2.2 million in arbitration heading into 2014. Cotts struggled this past season, putting up a 4.23 ERA in 66 2/3 innings.

Cotts turns 35 at the end of March. He’ll be an important piece of the Brewers’ righty-heavy bullpen going into the 2015 season. As a pitcher who has overcome so many injuries, he will be an easy guy to root for.


Nationals’ Strasburg ejected for arguing from the stands

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — A pitcher getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes – on his day off? And, from the stands?

Nationals star Stephen Strasburg earned one of baseball’s most unique ejections – probably ever – in the third inning of Washington’s game against the New York Mets on Thursday.

Strasburg was sitting in Section 121 at Citi Field in this socially distant season because he’s scheduled to start Friday against Baltimore Orioles. He was apparently unhappy with the strike zone of plate umpire Carlos Torres after Austin Voth‘s 2-2 pitch to Pete Alonso on the outside corner was ruled a ball.

Moments later, Torres ejected last year’s World Series MVP, though it took a few seconds to realize who had been tossed.

Someone was heard yelling: “You’re (expletive) brutal” shortly before television cameras captured Strasburg doffing his cap as he walked up the staircase on his way out of the park.

“Sorry, folks – sorry, FCC,” Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen said on SNY.

The usually stoic Strasburg appeared to be grinning underneath his blue mask as he made his exit.