The Tigers announced earlier this morning that Phil Coke will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a groin injury. Coke's groin has been nagging him for the last week, making him unavailable for the Tigers' last few games. He last pitched in Thursday's 8-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
To take Coke's place, the Tigers recalled relief pitcher Jose Ortega from Triple-A Toledo. Ortega, a 24 year old right-hander, has pitched 14 scoreless innings for the Mud Hens this season with 19 strikeouts and seven walks. Ortega made two appearances for the Tigers last season, allowing a run in 2 2/3 innings.
This news comes as no surprise, given that the Tigers are about to head out on a six game road trip. Coke tried to throw a short bullpen session before last night's game, but was seen walking back into the clubhouse with an athletic trainer shortly before the game began. Cameras later spotted him in the Tigers dugout, indicating that he was unavailable out of the bullpen.
Coke has struggled this year, allowing eight earned runs in 8 2/3 innings. However, something seemed different against the Royals. He walked four hitters in his last outing after having only walked one batter in his previous 7 1/3 innings this year.
In general, groin injuries are nagging, annoying beasts that don't go away without proper rest. With Coke on the DL and Drew Smyly emerging as a solid lefty option in late innings, the Tigers have the luxury of allowing him to take the time he needs to get back to 100%.