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Pirates acquire Phil Coke on purpose

Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have acquired veteran left-handed pitcher Phil Coke from the Yankees for some guy named Cash.  A corresponding 40-man roster move hasn't been announced, but the team could simply put Josh Harrison on the 60-day disabled list.

Coke started the season in independent ball, but signed with the Yankees in late April.  Except for six innings with New York -- during which he walked four and struck out just one -- he's spent the year in AAA, where he's been a swing man.  He put up a 2.96 ERA and 1.27 WHIP with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, walking 2.7 per nine innings and striking out 7.8.

Coke is probably best known for his tenure in a chronically bad Detroit bullpen from 2010-14.  During those years, he pitched in 299 games for the Tigers, all but 15 in relief, with a 4.25 ERA and unimpressive 1.52 WHIP.  Coke spent 2015 wandering through three different organizations at three different levels, seeing only limited, and not very successful, action.  He still throws fairly hard for a lefty, averaging about 93 mph with his four-seam fastball, but he's always been pretty hittable.  For his career he has a large platoon split, holding left-handed hitters to a .653 OPS but getting hit hard by right-handed hitters.

The Pirates have brought Coke in to . . . uh . . . do something.  Pitch probably.  It could be they've realized Zach Phillips isn't a major league pitcher and want a LOOGY . . . except they don't believe in LOOGYs.  Or they may simply be getting concerned about all the innings Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero are throwing, a concern that may have been increased by the uncertainty whether Neftali Feliz will return this year.  In any event, Coke won't be eligible for the post-season and will be a free agent after the season.