Jul 28, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Phil Coke (40) celebrates the last out against the Philadelphia Phillies at Comerica Park. Detroit won 12-4. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
We weren’t expecting many, if any, roster changes for the ALCS round, but today the Detroit Tigers announced that Phil Coke will be activated to take the place of Luke Putkonen. He missed some time at the end of the regular season and the ALDS due to elbow tenderness, but he’s apparently been throwing pain free down in Florida. Here’s the announcement from the Tigers’ own official Twitter account:
Listen, I know we were all frustrated with the way Coke pitched this season (what with the 5.40 ERA and everything), but his inclusion (or exclusion) on the roster probably isn’t going to make or break the series for the Tigers. If they find themselves in a situation where they’re counting on Coke for a whole lot of anything, they were probably in a heap of trouble to begin with.
I find the decision to keep Jose Alvarez and ditch Luke Putkonen to be curiuos, but again, it’s not a move that will have any real impact. I think Putkonen is probably the guy you’d rather have on the mound if you were forced into it (say an 18-inning affair), but maybe not. Alvarez has been decent at times too. Alvarez probably gets the nod as the pitcher better able to go three or four innings in a major mop-up long relief role.
As long as Jim Leyland doesn’t go into the series thinking that Coke is an option to face David Ortiz in the seventh inning or later with the game on the line, this roster move will end up being small potatoes. He was a hero of the ALCS last year – stepping in as the closer when Jose Valverde imploded – but he hasn’t shown the same level of ‘stuff’ or command since then.
Haven’t yet seen an official announcement that this is the end of the roster changes, but I wouldn’t expect anything further (it was already announced that Bruce Rondon wouldn’t be available).