Coke Back in Majors After Brief Stint in Atlantic League

By: Mike Ashmore

NEW YORK – As Yankees reliever Phil Coke took a second to re-familiarize himself with his surroundings, he couldn’t help but feel like he was back at home.

But he also was grateful for his brief home away from home with the Atlantic League’s Lancaster Barnstormers.

Coke, who had 401 major league appearances under his belt, primarily as a reliever, was hoping to return to his minor league roots as a starter after getting let go by the Atlanta Braves in spring training, but HE had difficulty finding an affiliated suitor.

On April 23, the 33-year-old left-hander made his independent ball debut, spinning four innings in the second game of a doubleheader against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. As it turns out, not only was it all he needed to get signed, he likely didn’t even need to pitch there at all.

“I made one appearance, I was down there to start and get stretched out and get some innings, just to see how it went,” Coke told on the field at Yankee Stadium.

“I got a text message from (GM Brian) Cashman asking if I was available for a workout, and I asked him if I could have two days. He asked why, and I told him I had to start tomorrow. He asked where I was playing, I told him, and I guess they purchased my contract, but they let me make my start, which was really cool. The next day, we had an off day that we traveled home for, and the next thing I know I’m talking to my wife and we’re driving to Scranton.”

Coke, who helped the Yankees win the World Series out of their bullpen in 2009, was assigned to Triple-A, and had no thoughts of making a return to the majors any time soon. But, on May 6, just 13 days removed from being in the Atlantic League, he was called up to the big leagues.

“Not only did I make one appearance in the regular season (in Lancaster) and I’m in Scranton, I threw two bullpens and had two appearances and then I’m here. It’s crazy,” he said.

“It’s almost like I never left. Obviously, I’m a little older and a little wiser, I hope. But I’m here, I’m happy and I’m excited about it. It was like coming home. I felt like when I was traded, I still had a lot to offer to the Yankees organization. They traded me away, and it kind of hurt my feelings a little bit. But at the same time, that’s the game, but it was a side of the game I didn’t really understand. Now, I have a much better understanding.”

Coke, who re-debuted in relief of Ivan Nova in Monday night’s 6-3 win over the Kansas City Royals, had been traveling the country in a 38-foot RV with his family, and Lancaster was able to accommodate him both on and off the field. For now, he’ll go back to five-star hotels and chartered flights, but he had no qualms about his brief stay off the radar of major-league organizations.

“You know what, it’s one of those things where you have to be willing to put any ego aside and just go play the game,” he said. “I wanted to play the game, and that was the place where I got the chance to go do it, so I did.”

Search Archive »

Browse by Year »


Browse by Month »

April 2024
March 2024
February 2024
January 2024
December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015