Aug 9, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Phil Coke (40) heads to the dugout after being relieved during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Coke to be Shut Down for “The Next Couple of Days” Due to Elbow Soreness

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Phil Coke complained about elbow soreness following last night’s outing against the Seattle Mariners, this according to Mlive’s James Schmehl, so head athletic trainer Kevin Rand had him checked out.

An MRI wasn’t necessary, but Coke will be shut down for the next couple of days, Rand said. Leyland confirmed it’s the first time he’s heard Coke complain of the soreness.

It hasn’t been a good season for Coke, who’s ERA has jumped nearly a run and a half from last season, and this latest development adds a new wrinkle to the saga. Has he been battling pain or soreness for much of the year? Was there something going on last night that caused him to pitch particularly poorly? Is he simply making excuses in a last-ditch effort to cling to the remaining vestige of postseason hope?

We don’t really know. We don’t really know anything. The last couple of bullpen spots has become quite a mess in recent weeks; a mess that Jim Leyland is going to somehow have to sort out over the final 10 games of the season.

It’s anyone’s guess what will happen regarding Phil Coke down the stretch. He has always seemed to be one of Leyland’s guys – so you’d think that he will receive every opportunity to make the postseason roster – but the skipper didn’t have much positive to say about the lefty reliever following Monday’s game. From the same Mlive piece:

“Phil Coke is not making good enough pitchers to get big-league hitters out,” Leyland said early Thursday. “Plain and simple. End of the story.”

Given the impending rest period for Coke – and his season-long pattern of poor performance – I wouldn’t be altogether surprised if we’ve actually seen last live-and-in-person action of Phil in a Detroit Tigers uniform. If Coke isn’t destined for October, then Jose Alvarez would appear to be the leader to take his place, though he hasn’t been used as a LOOGY with much frequency by the Tigers this season.

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