The official Tigers twitter account reported this morning lefthander Phil Coke will be moved to the bullpen, following last night's disastrous start against the Mets.Charlie Furbush will join the rotation.
Coke has given up at least four earned runs in four of his last five starts and has made it through the seventh inning just twice this year. He's been chased in five innings or less the past three times. His ERA ballooned to 5.01 during the month of June after he began the month at 3.81.
Furbush had a 2.91 ERA in eight starts with Triple-A Toledo before being called up. In Detroit as a reliever, he has a 2.49 ERA with 17 strikeouts and nine walks in 21 2/3 innings. This marks a meteoric rise for Furbush, who pitched for part of the 2010 season with Advanced-A Lakeland, as well as with Double-A Erie and the Mud Hens.
It's worth trying this move. I wouldn't get overly excited myself. Furbush will need to cut down the number of free passes he issues. Fortunately that was never a big issue for him in the minor leagues. He profiles as a back-end starter, so don't look at his gaudy ERA and expect him to maintain that level of success or you will be disappointed. However if Phil Coke puts himself back together he could be a valuable addition to the bullpen. If both pitch to their capabilities it should be a small, but positive gain overall.
Update: A few more quotes and details via media tweets:
@matthewbmowery (Oakland Press)
Leyland: "It was not a tough decision, it was a disappointing decision"
Leyland "I don't know if it'll work with Furbush, but I know it's the right thing to do"
Phil Coke will move into 6th, 7th inning relief role, likely available Saturday.