From a feature on Phil Coke via Tyler Kepner –
But there is one fissure in the foundation of the Yankees, who stand a half-game behind Boston in the American League East. It is the bullpen, where two projected setup men, Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte, are out indefinitely with arm injuries. According to General Manager Brian Cashman, the market for trades is slow.
Only two setup men have been on the active roster all season: the erratic right-hander Jose Veras and a left-hander who was toiling in Class AA a year ago, so far from the radar that Manager Joe Girardi had never seen him pitch.
He is Phil Coke, who is tied with Veras for the staff lead in appearances, with 21. It is no wonder Coke was chatting before Wednesday’s game with a Texas Rangers reliever, Eddie Guardado, whose nickname is Everyday. Despite Coke’s mixed results — 1-2 with a 4.43 earned run average — Girardi has found him indispensable.
“He has three quality pitches,” Girardi said. “He’s able to locate his fastball on both sides of the plate, he has an equalizer in his changeup to get right-handers, and he’s got a good slider to get left-handers. Really, what he does is he just pitches. He locates, he changes speeds and he works both sides of the plate.”
It’s time. The lefty needs a nickname.
While it would be so easy to go with “The Real Thing,” I’m going with:
“Pinch-Poke Phil Coke.”
It just sounds like an ‘ol-time baseball nickname…which the kid deserves.