ShareThis Page

Pirates' Cotts on comeback trail after surgery

Rob Biertempfel
| Friday, Jan. 15, 2010

BRADENTON, Fla. — Lefty reliever Neal Cotts threw long toss Thursday morning under the watchful eyes of Pirates trainers and coaches, who said his motion was smooth with good zip on the ball.

"Pretty good arm action for a guy who had Tommy John surgery in early July," pitching coach Joe Kerrigan said.

Cotts, who'll turn 30 in March, was with the Chicago Cubs when he had surgery. He rehabbed at the Cubs' facility in Mesa, Ariz., and began throwing a few months later.

"I struggled at the start," Cotts said. "But then, right after Christmas, it was like a switch just flipped on, and it all came back to me."

Cotts is slated to begin throwing off a mound at the end of this month, but he is not expected to be game-ready by the start of the regular season.

Over 284 career outings, Cotts has a 4.63 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Two years ago, he made 50 appearances for the Cubs and averaged 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

» Right-hander D.J. Carrasco became the Pirates' 20th non-roster invitee to spring training by agreeing to a minor league contract Thursday. If Carraso, 32, wins a spot in the bullpen, he will make $950,000 with a chance for up to $250,000 in incentives. Last season, Carrasco worked 89.1 innings, the most among American League relievers, and had a 3.76 ERA.

» Steve Pearce got a brief checkup from an athletic trainer during batting practice yesterday morning at minicamp. "Nothing big, just a kink in my neck," said Pearce, who then went out to shag flies.

» Donnie Veal is making a smooth transition back to being a starter after spending last season in the bullpen as a Rule 5 pick. The left-hander was dominant in the Arizona Fall League, going 3-1 with a 2.14 ERA in seven starts. In 21 innings, Veal racked up 22 strikeouts and walked seven. "It was good to get back in that starter's routine," Veal said.

» Top prospect Pedro Alvarez was excused from minicamp to attend Major League Baseball's rookie development program. The third baseman has kept busy this offseason by working out with a personal trainer in Arizona. Also, Alvarez announced on his his Facebook page that he recently got engaged.


"I feel fortunate. The Marlins kind of felt like my home, but I'm enjoying it here so far. It feels like a fresh start." — Outfielder John Raynor, who was claimed by the Pirates in the Rule 5 draft


.729 — Lastings Milledge's OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in 58 games with the Pirates

8 — Career postseason relief outings by Neal Cotts, in seven seasons

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.