Making his first major league appearance since May 25, 2009, Lebanon High School graduate Neal Cotts threw six pitches in a scoreless relief inning Tuesday night with the Texas Rangers.
The 33-year-old left-handed reliever was promoted by the Rangers earlier Tuesday after they purchased his contract from Class AAA Round Rock.
Cotts is the second metro-east product to pitch in the American League this week after Highland's Jake Odorizzi made a start for the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.
Cotts has battled back from injuries, including ligament replacement surgery in 2009. He last pitched in the major leagues with the Chicago Cubs in May, 2009 and was pitching in Class AAA last season.
The former Lebanon High and Illinois State University standout earned the promotion by recording a 0.78 ERA in 15 relief appearances for Round Rock. Cotts was 3-1 with two saves and 42 strikeouts, walking only five walks in 23 innings.
He was especially tough on left-handed batters, another reason for the promotion. He struck out 22 left-handed hitters and issued only three walks.
Cotts spent all of last season with Round Rock, going 2-1 in 25 games with a 4.55 ERA and three saves
Cotts is best remembered as the top left-handed reliever for the Chicago White Sox during their 2005 World Series championship season.
After being traded to the Cubs in 2007, Cotts battled various injuries and underwent Tommy John elbow ligament surgery. In eight major league seasons, the former second-round pick of the Oakland Athletics has a 10-12 record and .462 ERA in 285 games.