{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Leyland: Coke still big part of Tigers' bullpen

Leyland: Coke still big part of Tigers' bullpen

|
Leyland: Coke still big part of Tigers' bullpen

ST. PETERSBURG -- Phil Coke has lost five games so far this season entering Saturday's game, more than the other six relievers in the Tigers' bullpen combined. His ERA is 6.56, the second highest of all the pitchers currently on the staff.

But Jim Leyland said Saturday he still considers Coke "a big part of our ballclub."

"He's been real spotty," Leyland said when asked about the struggles of the high-energy 30-year-old left-hander. "He's shown signs of brilliance, and other times he's not been real good. He's fighting himself right now. He has terrific stuff. We like him very, very much. There's no reason he hasn't done better.

"He's got terrific equipment. We have to figure out how to get the best out of that equipment. He comes in like a bull in a china shop and sometimes he pitches like one. We've got to get him to channel that enthusiasm and be a little more of a pitcher."

For now, Coke will probably be used as a situational lefty to get the Tigers out of an inning.

Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español