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McCoy grabs opportunity in Tigers' bullpen

CLEVELAND -- Patrick McCoy was dining on sushi in Charlotte on Saturday afternoon when Triple-A Toledo manager Larry Parrish called him up and told him to get on a plane to Cleveland in two hours. By Sunday afternoon, he was not only in a Major League uniform, he had more than a dozen family members in the stands at Progressive Field.

For a Minor League free agent who had barely pitched above Double-A ball going into the season, it's been quite a year already.

"That's everybody's goal when they sign with a new organization, to make it to the big leagues. I didn't think it was going to happen this fast," McCoy said on Sunday. "Signing with Detroit, I was blessed. I was going to sign with a couple other teams, but me and my agent, we talked a lot, and Detroit was a good fit."

It was an unexpected fit for an organization that opened the season with seven left-handed pitchers at Triple-A Toledo. Between injuries and inconsistency, McCoy ended up passing most of them when Ian Krol's trip to the disabled list created an opportunity.

With a sinkerballing style and a developing changeup that draws swings and misses, the 25-year-old moved through the system quickly. He posted a 3-0 record, a 2.94 ERA and a .246 batting average against between Double-A Erie and Toledo, with left-handed hitters batting just .220 (9-for-41) with 15 strikeouts against him.

"I've been working on my changeup," McCoy said, "just trying to perfect that and get it up to par with my other pitches."

All the while, he's been pitching close to home. He grew up near Buffalo, but has several family members now living in Cleveland, which made Erie a good starting point for him. From there, Toledo wasn't much further away.

With the Tigers in Cleveland when he got the call, he was able to get more than a dozen family members tickets for his first game in a Major League uniform on Sunday.

"My mom, my dad, my wife, my kids, aunt, uncle," he said. "The whole crew's coming out. I have a lot of family in Cleveland."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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