Phil Coke left yesterday’s start after injuring his foot fielding a Ben Zobrist bunt and today the Tigers left-hander was placed on the disabled list.
Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that Detroit will call up prospect Andy Oliver to take Coke’s turn in the rotation Saturday, but in the meantime they’ve added left-hander Adam Wilk to the roster as an extra reliever.
Coke had been doing pretty well in his move to the rotation after three seasons as a full-time reliever, posting a 3.81 ERA in 52 innings, although his 1-5 record isn’t pretty and he’s managed only 5.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
Oliver, who missed a start at Triple-A earlier this season after he hurt his hand playing with a slingshot (seriously), ranked as a top-100 prospect according to Baseball America and has a 3.26 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 50 innings at Triple-A.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.
While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.
Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.
I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.
On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.