GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers left-handed pitcher Neal Cotts suffered a strained left latissimus dorsi muscle in Saturday's 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians. He will be evaluated further Sunday and could get an MRI to determine the severity.
Assistant GM Thad Levine said the initial thought is that it's probably something that will require Cotts to go seven to 10 days without throwing. That would end his chances of making the Opening Day roster, though GM Jon Daniels said he expects Cotts to pitch for the big league club at some point this season if he's healthy.
"He was throwing the ball extremely well," manager Ron Washington said. "He's just got to get well."
Cotts apparently felt the muscle when he threw a wild pitch to the final batter in his only inning of work. Cotts got out of the inning without allowing a run and was then diagnosed with the injury, which comes hours after the club sent left-handed pitcher Michael Kirkman to Triple-A Round Rock, leaving just Cotts and Robbie Ross as the two remaining left-handed relievers in camp.
Daniels said the club will continue to evaluate Ross before deciding if it will keep a left-handed reliever to start the season. Three open spots remain in the bullpen with Ross, Koji Uehara, Yoshinori Tateyama and Mark Lowe in the running for them.
Cotts, 31, hasn't pitched in a major league game since 2009. He had Tommy John surgery that year and missed 2010. He also had surgery to repair a torn labrum and then needed three more surgeries to deal with an infection. But he has pitched well this spring and was getting a long look at a possible bullpen candidate. Cotts pitched well in relief earlier in his career, including with the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox.