Phil Coke reported after his last appearance on September 18, when he allowed four runs in 2/3 of an inning, that his elbow wasn't feeling right. He was scheduled to return to action for Tuesday night's game in Minnesota. However, Jason Beck of MLB.com is now reporting that Coke is headed back to Detroit for an MRI.
Phil Coke not pitching after all. He reported more tightness in elbow this morning, heading back to Detroit for exam.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) September 24, 2013
It's been a tough season for the Tigers' left handed reliever. He has been mainly ineffective in almost any role that he's been given, was sent down to the minor leagues in August, and hasn't pitched very much or very well since being recalled at the end of August.
Coke has posted an ERA of 5.40 with a WHIP (walks and hits per inning) of 1.67. Both numbers are high on the team among relievers with at least 20 innings pitched. Coke has walked almost five batters per nine innings, while striking out seven per nine frames. Most troubling is that he has allowed left handers to hit .284 .345 .416 for an OPS of .761 and a wOBA of .331.
The news of Coke's continuing arm issues very likely ends the regular season for him. His status on the post season roster was already in serious jeopardy. He was recalled from Toledo on the final day of August, making him automatically eligible for the post season roster, when Jose Alvarez was optioned back to Toledo.
The Tigers have three other left handers currently on the team. Drew Smyly, Jose Alvarez, and Darin Downs. Only Smyly has been effective this season in any role this season. Should Coke be unable to play when the post season begins, the club could replace him on the roster with any player who was in the organization by August 31st.