Phil Coke declines AAA assignment

Veteran left-hander Phil Coke has declined an optional assignment to Triple-A Buffalo and elected free agency, according to a report from Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi.

Coke was sent down as part of a bundle of moves by the Toronto Blue Jays which took place after yesterday’s game vs the Baltimore Orioles. RHP’s Ryan Tepera and Scott Copeland were also optioned to Buffalo. In order to re-fill those roster spots, RHP Todd Redmond and LHP Rob Rasmussen were recalled from Triple-A and R.A. Dickey was activated from the bereavement list.

Coke, 32, signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays on May 30 after having been released by the Chicago Cubs the previous week. Coke signed a minor league deal with the Cubs just one week prior to the beginning of spring training where he agreed to a contract that would have paid him $2.25MM if he made the major league roster. The contract also included incentives which could have earned Coke up to $900K starting once he had made his 35th appearance of the season.

In order to sign with the Cubs, Coke rejected at least one other offer made to him from an unknown team. During his short tenure in Toronto, Coke posted a 5.68 ERA with a 0-0 record, having pitched just 12.2 innings.

Coke made his MLB debut with the New York Yankees on September 1, 2008, against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. He was originally drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 49th round (1450th overall) of the 2001 first-year player draft but did not sign. The next year, the Yankees drafted him in the 26th round (786th overall) and that was when he agreed to sign a big league contract which officially started his professional career.

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