Results tagged ‘ Phil Coke ’

Leyland defends lineups, lefties

With the way the Tigers rallied back to win Friday night, it was almost an afterthought when manager Jim Leyland brought up the question about his lineup usage. But the fact that Alex Avila homered for the third time in his last three games became a reference point for him, so he had admittedly overused him for a stretch this year.

“You lose when you have your regulars in there, too,” Leyland said. “That’s what a lot of times, people don’t understand. They think when you don’t play your regulars, you lose, but if you play your regulars every day, you win. It doesn’t work that way. You lose no matter who you play sometimes up here.

“I’m not making excuses. I’m just saying I’m going to have to watch [Avila], but I think he’s freshened up a little bit. But like I said, it’s my fault, because I played him into the ground prior to the [All-Star] break.”

That was a longer-term decision. The short-term decision he made Friday concerned when to get Rick Porcello out of the game. When Royals rookie third baseman Mike Moustakas came up with a 3-for-42 mark against left-handed pitchers this year, that was his time.

“I feel bad for Rick,” Leyland said. “He deserved a win tonight. He pitched tremendous. But that’s the way it goes. We got the win, and that’s the most important thing. But I did feel bad for him. …

“They had a little momentum going. The stage was set. But I chose to go to the left-hander because the young kid’s hitting .071 against left-handed pitching. Didn’t work. Wasn’t very smart. But I’d do it again if they get the momentum going like that. Late in games, when a team gets momentum going, the guy’s later into the game, even though [Porcello's] pitch count was fantastic.”

The numbers were impossible to ignore. The downfall was that Phil Coke made what Leyland called a “terrible” pitch, a two-strike curveball that Moustakas was able to pull inside first base and produce an RBI single.

Waiting for update on Alburquerque

The Tigers medical staff checked out Al Alburquerque this morning at Comerica Park, but no information was available as of game time. He was at the ballpark this morning, but disappeared into the training room area of the Tigers clubhouse. So at this point, we’re hoping for an update after the game.

Two interesting factors to consider:

  1. The immediate concern is how long, if at all, he’ll be out, and how long the Tigers can go without him before they have to consider calling up somebody. From a numbers and workload standpoint, the Tigers bullpen is fine. But take away Alburquerque even for a day or two, and as Wednesday showed, it leaves first-year pro Chance Ruffin as the only right-hander available before the eighth inning.
  2. If Alburquerque’s elbow has resurfaced as a concern, do the Tigers have to look into more relief help before Sunday’s non-waiver trade deadline? Even if it’s a short-term absence, the off and on issues make the elbow a longer-term concern. The Tigers popped up in rumors about Orioles reliever Koji Uehara the other day, and that was before this issue. Detroit wouldn’t necessarily need a setup man as insurance, but simply a middle reliever might end up being something to consider. That said, the Tigers have seen Phil Coke as an effective reliever against left- and right-handed hitters alike. The two options for right-handed help from the farm would be Ryan Perry and Lester Oliveros, but Detroit essentially said Ruffin was a better option than Oliveros when making Sunday’s move.

Coke all set to start Wednesday at Texas

Just watched Phil Coke have a long tossing session on an otherwise empty field Saturday afternoon here at U.S. Cellular Field. He seemingly got through that fine, and the Tigers have him listed as their probable starter Wednesday at Texas.

Coke gave up three runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings of work in his rehab start Friday night for Triple-A Toledo at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Most of the damage happened in the sixth. It was his first game action since May 23, when he suffered a bone bruise on his right foot.

Unless something drastically changes, Andy Oliver is headed back to Toledo. He’s not listed among the other probables through next series.

Tigers-Jays rained out, Porcello gets skipped

The sight of Phil Coke leaving soon after the clubhouse opened this afternoon was a pretty good sign the Tigers anticipated a long night. They were sending him to Boston on a flight ahead of the team. As it turned out, the rain never allowed them to get going.

After waiting for nearly two hours, the Tigers finally called the game just after 9 p.m. They’ll make it up with a 7:05 p.m. ET game on Monday, June 27, which was a scheduled off-day for both Detroit and Toronto. Fans holding tickets for tonight’s game can use it for that night with no exchange necessary.

As for the rotation, Phil Coke and Justin Verlander will remain on turn for the upcoming two-game series at Boston. The Tigers are skipping tonight’s scheduled starter, Rick Porcello, who hasn’t pitched since his rain-shortened start last Tuesday at Minnesota. He’s expected to make his next scheduled turn Sunday at Pittsburgh. Again, that’s weather permitting, which given the forecast for Boston is far from a sure thing.

It’s the second time this season Porcello has been skipped. When the Tigers did it last month, though, it was planned well ahead of time, with two scheduled off-days in a five-day span. Porcello pitched April 20, then not again until April 30. The rest did nothing to cause rust, as Porcello kept rolling through what is now a five-game stretch with seven earned runs over 31 2/3 innings, good for a 1.99 ERA.

Tigers rotation for opening week

As you probably already know, Jim Leyland said today that Phil Coke would be the extra starter moved to the bullpen for the start of the season until the Tigers need a fifth starter over the weekend of the first home series. Brad Penny will be the fourth starter.

What you might not remember, though, is how Penny’s starts now fit with the rest of the Tigers starters. So here’s a chart for the Tigers rotation:

March 31 (Opening Day) at Yankees: Justin Verlander
April 2 at Yankees: Brad Penny
April 3 at Yankees: Max Scherzer
April 4 at Orioles (O’s home opener): Rick Porcello
April 6 at Orioles: Justin Verlander
April 7 at Orioles: Brad Penny
April 8 vs. Royals (home opener): Max Scherzer
April 9 vs. Royals: Phil Coke
April 10 vs. Royals: Rick Porcello (presumably)

Leyland: Decision on rotation coming soon

Lost in the battles for the final bullpen spots and the second base job is the fact that the Tigers haven’t decided yet who will start the second game of the season or the last game in Baltimore before the home opener. Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello already have their assignments, but Phil Coke and Brad Penny do not. One of them is expected to make those two starts, and the other will either be held back or work out of the bullpen for the first week of the season.

“Somebody’s going to be skipped a turn,” Jim Leyland said this morning. “That’s going to be worked out shortly.”
It’s a short-term decision made necessary by having two off-days in the first week. Once the Tigers get back to Detroit, they have a long stretch of games without an off-day, and the five starters will slot in turn. But the decision could have a big impact on the road trip and what kind of momentum they take home with them.
Coke (who starts today) and Penny (who starts Thursday against the Twins) have been starting back-to-back this spring, so you can’t make out anything from the pitching order. Penny would have to take an extra day of rest to fall in line for the March 2 game at Yankee Stadium. Coke would have two extra days, so he might throw an extra side session or something.

Coke heading to Tigers rotation next year

For those of you who figured something was up when Phil Coke was named to start today’s season finale, you were right. After Jim Leyland said earlier this month that he was still unsure whether Coke was better suited as a starter or a reliever, Leyland said Sunday morning, “My intention is to have Phil Coke in the rotation.”

Coke will slot in behind Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. Leyland said Armando Galarraga will compete for the fifth spot in a mix that could include some youngsters and maybe a free-agent pickup. He didn’t name Andy Oliver, but one would presume he’ll be a key figure. He did not name Jeremy Bonderman, either, which means we’re probably going to get some news on Bonderman from team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski later today.
Sunday will mark Coke’s first Major League start. He was most recently a starter at Double-A Trenton in 2008.

Valverde out until further notice

The Tigers are holding out closer Jose Valverde until further notice with an unspecified injury, potentially a recurrence of the tenderness around his elbow that bothered him last week.

“He’s not right,” manager Jim Leyland said, “and I’m not going to pitch him. He’s off until he tells me he’s able to pitch, and he’s not able to pitch right now.”

Leyland would not go into details about the injury, but Valverde’s earlier issues would seemingly suggest it’s related to that. Valverde was not available for comment.

Valverde went more than a week between outings before he returned to pitch a scoreless innings with a walk Wednesday at Texas. He threw just two out of 11 pitches for strikes, but they both went for groundouts. After a four-pitch walk, his inning ended with Gerald Laird threw out David Murphy trying to steal second base.

It marked just the second scoreless performance in Valverde’s last six outings, though one of those featured an unearned run over three innings in a victory September 2 over the Twins.

Leyland said Phil Coke will serve as the closer for the time being. He will not be used before the ninth inning in those situations.

“I don’t know how long that’s going to last,” Leyland said, “but that’s just the way it’s going to have to be for right now. We’re short.”

Valverde hopefully available tonight

The Tigers were optimistic that they would have Jose Valverde available Monday night against the Yankees, if they could get a save situation for him.

“We’re hoping he’s going to be OK,” manager Jim Leyland said Monday afternoon. “We got a pretty good report today.”

Valverde missed the entire weekend series against the White Sox with a deep abdominal strain on his right side. He said Monday afternoon he felt a lot better, though he couldn’t say for sure if he would be ready until he went out to play catch.

“I want to be ready to play,” Valverde said.

Phil Coke closed out back-to-back wins Saturday and Sunday in Valverde’s absence. Leyland said Coke would “hopefully” be available Monday as well. It would mean potentially three straight days of work, but Leyland pointed out that his pitch count Sunday was relatively low.

Heavy bullpen use over the weekend and Valverde’s situation prompted Detroit to call up Daniel Schlereth from Triple-A Toledo as an extra reliever. 

Valverde day-to-day with abdominal strain

Tigers closer Jose Valverde was not available for the save situation once the Tigers pulled ahead in the ninth inning Saturday night against the White Sox. He suffered a mild abdominal strain, according to the team, and is considered day-to-day.

Valverde last worked Wednesday against the Rays, recording the final four outs. Manager Jim Leyland said Valverde wasn’t available Friday night, either. Once Detroit took the lead Saturday, Leyland stayed with Phil Coke, who recorded the final out of the eighth to finish off his seventh win of the season.

Leyland said Valverde might be available Sunday.

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