ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Left-hander Neal Cotts is back in the major leagues for the first time since ligament replacement surgery four years ago.
The Texas Rangers purchased the reliever's contract Tuesday from Triple-A Round Rock, where he was 3-1 with a 0.78 ERA in 15 games. The 33-year-old left-hander had 42 strikeouts and five walks in 23 innings.
"His numbers are pretty good in Triple-A. I've seen Neal Cotts. I'm glad he's healthy," manager Ron Washington said. "He's pitched in the World Series. He's a major league pitcher."
Texas also activated catcher A.J. Pierzynski from the 15-day disabled list. He was in the starting lineup, catching for Yu Darvish, after being out since May 6 with a strained right oblique muscle.
Cotts and Pierzynski were teammates for two seasons with the Chicago White Sox, including the 2005 World Series championship team. Cotts pitched in all four of those World Series games against Houston.
Right-hander Josh Lindblom, Monday night's starter, and catcher Robinson Chirinos were optioned to Round Rock.
The Rangers also said that they would skip rookie's Nick Tepesch's scheduled start Wednesday. Tepesch (3-4, 3.98 ERA) has a blister on his right middle finger.
The Rangers plan to bring Ross Wolf up from Triple-A to start the series finale against the A's, and will have to make a corresponding move before the game to clear a roster spot. Wolf's last major league appearance was in 2010.
Wolf, who made 14 appearances for Florida in 2007 and 11 for Oakland three years later, is 1-1 with a 1.85 ERA in six starts for Round Rock this season.
"He's throwing the ball well. He's the hottest guy down there right now. I hope he can come up and continue that," Washington said.
Wolf signed a minor league deal with the Rangers on April 27, four days after he was released by Baltimore.
Cotts signed a minor league deal with Texas before the 2012 season, and had a chance to make the team before sustaining a strained right lat muscle late in spring training. He made 25 appearances for Round Rock last season, and signed another minor league deal with the Rangers last winter.
In 284 career major league games with the White Sox and Chicago Cubs, Cotts has a 10-12 record with a 4.63 ERA. He was 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA in 69 appearances in 2005 for the White Sox, and was the winner in Game 2 of the World Series.
"''He's a hard-working guy. He loves the game," Washington said. "I hope he can get back to the dream he always wanted to be a part of and help the ballclub in the process."
AP freelance writer Lary Bump contributed to this report.