Coke with the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on June 9, 2013
|Pittsburgh Pirates – No. 52|
July 19, 1982 |
|September 1, 2008, for the New York Yankees|
(through September 26, 2015)
|Earned run average||4.19|
|Career highlights and awards|
Phillip Douglas Coke (born July 19, 1982) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, and Toronto Blue Jays.
He made his Double-A debut with the Trenton Thunder in 2008, going 9–4 with a 2.54 earned run average (ERA) in 23 games (20 starts). Later that year in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, he pitched in 13 games (starting one) and went 2–2 with a 4.67 ERA.
New York Yankees
He made his major league debut on September 1, 2008, for the Yankees against the Detroit Tigers with a scoreless inning and strikeouts of Curtis Granderson and Miguel Cabrera. In 2009, Coke got his first World Series title after the Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.
Coke's first season in Detroit proved to be successful, as he finished 2010 with a 3.76 ERA (his career best to date) with 17 holds and 2 saves in 21 hold/save situations. The Tigers signed Coke to a new contract on February 7, 2011. After spending all of his previous time in the major leagues as a relief pitcher, Coke was moved from the bullpen to the fifth spot in the starting rotation to start the 2011 season. On June 30, after accumulating a 1–8 record, Coke was moved back to the bullpen. He would finish 2011 with a 3–9 record and a 4.47 ERA.
On January 16, 2012, Coke signed a one-year, $1.1 million deal with the Tigers to avoid arbitration. He was eligible to earn an additional $50,000 based on appearances in the 2012 season.
Despite a season in which he posted a 4.00 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP, Coke was the Tiger's most reliable reliever in the 2012 postseason. Pressed into duty as the team's closer on October 14, 2012 after regular season closer José Valverde surrendered seven runs in his previous two appearances, Phil pitched two shutout innings in Game 2 of the 2012 ALCS against the Yankees to earn a save, then saved Game 3 by striking out Raúl Ibañez on a 3–2 slider to preserve a 2–1 victory after allowing back-to-back two-out singles. In Game 4, Coke pitched two perfect innings to finish off the Tigers' 8–1 win over his former team and send Detroit to the World Series for the first time in six years.
In the 2012 World Series, Coke pitched 3 1⁄3 innings, allowing one run, but that run came in the top of the 10th inning of Game 4 and was the game and series winner for the Champion San Francisco Giants. This came after Coke had struck out the side in the top of the 9th inning which, coupled with his appearances in Games 2 and 3 of the series, gave him a World Series record seven consecutive strikeouts. Coke finished the 2012 postseason allowing one run in 10 2⁄3 innings (0.84 ERA) and striking out 13 batters.
Coke struggled throughout the 2013 season, failing to thrive as either a setup man or a lefty specialist. Tossing only 38 1⁄3 innings on the year, Phil's ERA ballooned to a career-high 5.40. On August 20, 2013, after an outing against the Minnesota Twins that typified Coke's ineffectiveness this season, the Tigers demoted him to their Triple-A farm club in Toledo, subsequently promoting left-handed pitcher José Álvarez to the major league roster.
In 2014, his final season with the Tigers, Coke posted a 5–2 record with 41 strikeouts and a 3.88 ERA in 58 innings pitched.
In March 2015, Coke signed a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs, receiving a non-roster invitation to spring training. Coke earned a $2.25 million salary upon making the team. Coke had a 6.30 ERA in 16 appearances, allowing left-handed batters to hit .304 (7-for-23) against him. He was designated for assignment by the Cubs on May 18, and released by the club on May 26.
Toronto Blue Jays
On May 30, 2015, Coke signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, and was assigned to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. On June 11, the Blue Jays purchased Coke's contract from Triple-A. He took the mound for the first time with Toronto on June 14, pitching 2 scoreless innings in a 13–5 win over the Boston Red Sox. He became a free agent again on June 22, after he declined his minor-league assignment by the Blue Jays.
Coke signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves on March 11, 2016. On March 26, 2016, he was released.
Return to the Yankees
On April 25, 2016, the Yankees acquired Coke from the Atlantic League, and assigned him to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees promoted Coke to the major leagues on May 6. He was designated for assignment on May 17. On May 21, he was outrighted from the 40-man roster and optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
On September 22, 2016, the Pirates acquired Coke from the Yankees for cash considerations.
Coke throws mainly four-seam and two-seam fastballs. His four-seamer is thrown in the 93 to 95 miles per hour (150 to 153 km/h) range, occasionally reaching 97 miles per hour (156 km/h). The two-seamer is a shade slower, averaging 92 to 93 miles per hour (148 to 150 km/h). He mixes in a slider in the 78 to 83 miles per hour (126 to 134 km/h) range and an occasional changeup between 83 miles per hour (134 km/h) and 86 miles per hour (138 km/h).
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- "Toronto vs. Boston 06/14/2015". MLB.com. June 14, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
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- Mike Axisa. "Yankees bring back Phil Coke, send him to Triple-A". River Avenue Blues. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- "Tuolumne County native Phil Coke back in major leagues". The Union Democrat. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- "Phil Coke PitchFX at FanGraphs.com". fangraphs.com. Retrieved August 25, 2014.