When Tom mentioned Phil Coke as an option for the long relief spot in Joe Girardi’s bullpen, I disparaged the idea. Jerking a young pitcher from role to role can often stunt their development and hinder their performance in both roles, as Ross Ohlendorf showed us last season. However, the Yankees seem ready to use Coke much as they did Ohlendorf:
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I stopped Joe Girardi in the clubhouse today as I wanted to get some clarification on how they plan to use Phil Coke.
The verdict is … reliever.
“He’s a guy we see being able to pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen. That’s how we’re going to try and develop him,” Girardi said. “Right now, he’s not a starter.”
If Coke gets stretched out enough, he would fit into that long reliever role. But being left-handed, he also could be used situationally.
“I feel like I could go four innings if they want or pitch to one batter,” Coke said yesterday.