Coke out of action with left groin strain
DETROIT -- The Tigers weren't likely to pitch Phil Coke on Friday night regardless, considering he threw 33 pitches in defeat Thursday. A left groin strain, however, sidelined him for certain. Whether it impacts his availability for the rest of the weekend remains to be seen.
"He's better today and so he's kind of a day-to-day guy at this point in time," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Friday afternoon, "but it'll probably be a couple days."
Coke felt the strain on a pitch Thursday but tried to keep working. He ended up taking the loss with four runs on a hit and four walks over 1 1/3 innings.
However long it lasts, Coke's absence potentially puts the Tigers in a tricky situation with the left-handed segment of their bullpen. Darin Downs would likely be the primary southpaw if Detroit needs an out against a left-handed hitter. The Braves don't have many, but Freddie Freeman and Juan Francisco are two worth worrying about.
Drew Smyly, who has done everything from long relief to specialist work, could end up filling the gap. With the weather forecast looking good for the weekend, Smyly's chances of long relief might drop, though Rick Porcello has to avoid an early exit on Saturday.