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8/22/2014 7:32 P.M. ET

Cotts happy to still be with Rangers

ARLINGTON -- As much interest as Neal Cotts has drawn from other teams recently, it's hard to believe no one wanted Neal Cotts two years ago.

Recovered from Tommy John surgery and a torn labrum in his hip, Cotts missed the entire 2011 and 2012 seasons as an unsigned free agent. The Rangers took a chance on him before last year, giving the left-hander an opportunity to resurrect his career.

After being rumored as someone the Rangers were considering dealing before last month's Trade Deadline, Cotts reportedly was claimed off waivers this week before the Rangers pulled him back to ensure he would remain with the club.

"I guess it's a little bit gratifying," Cotts said. "I know the [waiver] process, but I don't know if [general manager] Jon [Daniels] is allowed to tell me. I was pretty much in the dark."

Out of Major League Baseball for the previous three years, Cotts went 8-3 with a 1.11 ERA in 2013 as one of baseball's best middle relievers. He's been solid again this year, going 2-7 while posting a 3.48 ERA and is on pace to break his career high of 65 1/3 innings, a mark he set in 2004.

"I've learned during that time off and through those trials that each day you need to flip the page," said Cotts. "Some of the struggles I had earlier in the season might have compiled into an awful, awful year. I might not even be here. You have to trust what you can do and things will pan out."

Darvish's return date still uncertain

ARLINGTON -- Right-hander Yu Darvish is eligible to be activated off the 15-day disabled list before Monday's series opener against the Mariners, but the Rangers are still unsure when he will pitch again.

Darvish last pitched in a loss to the Astros on Aug. 9, when he lasted just four innings, allowing nine hits and six runs, tying a season-high, five of them earned. He was placed on the disabled list last Wednesday with inflammation in his right elbow.

"I haven't gotten anything yet," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I just want him to go through the process and then we'll evaluate it as we go through the process. That decision will be made as we move through it."

No throwing program is scheduled for the Rangers ace, who is 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA this season. Washington also said he still doesn't know whether Darvish will travel with the team to Seattle next week.

Holland to make another rehab start Sunday

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have yet to name a starting pitcher for Sunday's series finale against the Royals, but don't count on it being left-hander Derek Holland.

Holland is scheduled to make his sixth rehab start with Triple-A Round Rock in Las Vegas on Sunday. He pitched five-plus innings for Round Rock on Tuesday, allowing two earned runs on seven hits while striking out seven and walking three in his longest rehab outing yet. Holland has missed all of this season while rehabbing from left knee surgery.

"Right now, he's pitching in Las Vegas," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We'll see how we get through the next two days against the Royals and we'll see who's pitching on Sunday."

Washington has Miles Mikolas slated to start Monday's series opener against the Mariners, followed by fellow right-hander Nick Martinez on Tuesday, allowing them both to pitch on five days' rest. When Holland will make his season debut has yet to be determined.

"We'll let Holland do what he's got to do in Vegas and then we'll make that decision," said Washington.

Washington excited about Japan trip

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington has never been to Japan but he is looking forward to changing that this November.

Washington will manage a team of notable Major League players that will face Japan's national team, Samurai Japan, in a five-game series and play exhibition games against the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball league.

"It was an honor to be asked, to go over there and get an All-Star team from over here," Washington said. "The relationship between the United States and Japan has gotten better. I'm just excited to be a leader for those guys."

So far, Washington has four players on his roster -- Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, Angels first baseman Albert Pujols and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig. While he doesn't know what the entire roster will be yet, he is looking forward to scouting Japan's premier baseball players.

"I'm going to have a chance to see some of the best Japanese players," Washington said. "Of course, in my mind I'll be evaluating and it's certain that I'll be putting something on paper, too. Also, it gives me an opportunity to see players that are over here."

Washington said he does not have complete control over who will be named to his coaching staff, but he will bring Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux to Japan.

Worth noting

• Rangers manager Ron Washington left second baseman Rougned Odor out of the lineup Friday so he could get a second straight day of rest following Thursday's off-day. Washington said, "You can see he's getting a little tired. I just wanted to give him a couple days. This kid's never had to grind like this before. I'll get him back in there tomorrow."

• Adrian Beltre entered Friday's series opener with a 14-game hitting streak against the Royals. His .352 career batting average against the Royals is the fifth-highest by an opposing hitter and he has posted an on-base percentage of .387 and slugging percentage of .595 against them in his career -- all his highest marks against an American League opponent.

• Friday's game marked the first time since Sept. 1, 1982 that the Rangers have faced a first-place Royals team this late in the season. It is also the latest in a season the Rangers have faced an AL team for the first time that year.

• Friday marks the 25th anniversary of Nolan Ryan's 5,000th strikeout, a mark he achieved by fanning Rickey Henderson in 1989. Exactly 18 years later, the Rangers set a MLB record by scoring 30 runs in a game, beating the Orioles 30-3 in 2007.

Christian Corona is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.