The Tigers send Phil Coke to the disabled list

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The Tigers early season bullpen overhaul continued as Phil Coke was moved to the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 26, with a left groin strain. In his place they bring in Jose Ortega from Toledo.

Ortega pitched two whole innings for the Tigers last year. Struck out four dudes, though. In Triple-A so far this season he’s allowed only one unearned run in 1 innings while striking out 19. That’s up from his minor league norms. His walk rate is down too, though still higher than you’d like to see in a reliever.

But it’s a potential plus for the Tigers: the chance to check out a live arm who could help later this season while simultaneously preventing Jim Leyland from using Phil Coke in situations other than lefty-on-left action.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.