UPDATED WITH AUDIO: Coke Refutes Failed Physical Claims

I asked Phil Coke two questions in the clubhouse today…

Did you fail a physical?

Have you ever failed a physical with the Yankees?

The answer to both questions: “No.”

What else do I even need to say?

UPDATE: Click here to download the audio of Coke’s answers.  In case there’s some ridiculous scenario in which people don’t believe either me or him, I want you to hear it…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

22 Responses to “UPDATED WITH AUDIO: Coke Refutes Failed Physical Claims”

  1. Scooter Says:

    And did anyone from BP ever bother to ask Phil Coke if he failed a physical?

    I think we know the answer to that question…

  2. Heather Says:

    And once again the “experts” get it wrong.

    Phil’s word is good enough for me.

    Nice work, Mike.

  3. ebyank Says:

    Did Phil Coke seemed annoyed that the rumor is he has a shoulder problem and he failed his physical?? You would think that if it was untrue he would seemed a little upset that people are writing it??? It’s hard to believe that he lets it go with the word no. I would have thought he could put a line together on how it wasn’t true and how good he feels. Maybe it’s no coincidence that the Yanks will now limit his innings. He is 26 and limiting a 26 year old’s inning is unusal unless their is a injury concern.

  4. Bob Says:

    Mike did you talk to Kontos?

  5. thunderbaseball Says:

    He didn’t seem particularly thrilled about it, but he was willing to talk about it.

    I’ve talked to Kontos twice since the non-trade…if I have a specific quote, I can pull it for you — what do you want to know?

  6. ebyank Says:

    Where their is smoke their is usually fire. If they limit Coke’s innings at 26 years old that says something right their!

  7. thunderbaseball Says:

    I think it’s just the 50+ thing, and the fact that most people seem to project him as a reliever at the higher levels.

    The 50+ thing is that NYY doesn’t want a guy throwing more than 50 innings over what he threw the previous season…

  8. Bob Says:

    Mike, I was just wondering if you had asked Kontos if he knew why the deal was nixed? Also if he mentioned a failed physical, if it was him.

  9. thunderbaseball Says:

    Kontos also did not know why the deal was nixed…I asked him about the shoulder report, and he told me he feels as good now as he ever has and didn’t know anything about that. There was no mention of a physical.

  10. Bob Says:

    Little bit of a mystery, no one knows anything! Thanks Mike

  11. pat Says:

    You know who else had audio, Mike????

    Milli Vanilli

    I rest my case

  12. thunderbaseball Says:

    Girl you know it’s…girl you know it’s…girl you know it’s…

  13. CB Says:

    What happened with that BP report on Coke is unfortunate, but I’m really not sure why this has become such a controversial or mysterious issue.

    Different teams and doctors interpret the results of MRIs and physical exams differently. Most pitchers have some wear on their shoulders/ elbows. But what the significance of that wear and tear is can vary and different teams are going to interpret the MRI and the results of those tests differently.

    So there is a subjective component to whether or not a pitcher “passes” or “fails” a physical based on MRI findings and examinations.

    This is probably what happened with Coke. He feels fine. Throws fine. But the MRI or exam may have showed something that Pittsburgh or their doctors interpreted as worrisome. From Pittsburgh’s perspective Coke may have “failed” the physical as a result. From the Yankees perspective he’s fine.

    This sort of thing isn’t that uncommon. The yankees are going through the exact same thing with their 3rd round draft pick Sctott Bittle.

    Bittle was the first team all america closer this year – threw for Mississippi. He threw a lot of innings and had no problems at all – healthy all year. Prior to signing him however the Yankees sent him for an MRI and saw some wear in his shoulder they interpreted as worrisome. As a result they reportedly now want to restructure his signing bonus and make part of it contingent on him staying healthy for the next couple of years. If he stays healthy they’d pay him the full amount. Bittle feels this is unfair as his arm feels fine and has never had any trouble with it. From his perspective this is all a confusing surprise.

    Also, Pittsburgh is probably hypersensitive to any shoulder issues right now for prospects. The buccs drafted Tanner Scheppers in the 2nd round of the draft this year. Scheppers was a top 10 talent who fell due to an impingement in his shoulder. Medical people disagreed a bit on what the long term implication of the shoulder impingement was – reportedly the Mariners team physician cleared him to be drafted. Other teams thought he was damaged goods and wouldn’t draft him. The Bucs took a chance. But now they are in protracted negotiations with him. I’m sure they are not very eager to take on any more risk regarding shoulders and had a low thresh hold to say Coke “failed” his physical.

    The whole thing is unfortunate. But its very possible that Will Carroll was told by Pittsburgh that Coke did fail his physical based on their interpretation of his MRI findings or his physical exam.

    What “fail” means here however could very well be entirely subjective. Its unfortunate but not that out of the ordinary.

  14. thunderbaseball Says:

    I don’t even think Coke had time to take a physical, though…

    Again, if you look at the timeline, where is there time for him to get that done and also for the results to come back telling whoever needed to know that he failed.

  15. CB Says:

    It’s entirely possible that after the initial trade was agreed upon the yankees released Coke’s medical records to Pittsburgh and the Bucs didn’t like what they saw from MRI’s and exams Coke had prior.

    If Coke had an MRI in the past (which I’d assume he must have at some point) the yankee doctors may have not thought much of the findings but the Pittsburgh people interpreted the results differently – as more concerning.

    When making a trade your threshold for taking risk is probably very different than it is when a guy is already in your system. If the player isn’t complaining of discomfort you don’t have to act on some MRI findings. But a team trading for a player may interpret that as a red flag.

    There is a subjective component to what constitutes a physical problem with a pitcher. The yankees gave pittsburgh a list of potential players to include in the trade. If they saw anything in Coke’s prior medical history that was in the least bit concerning to them they may have just told Cashman they wanted to select other players on the list because they weren’t comfortable with what Coke’s records showed.

  16. CB Says:

    Joel Sherman has an interesting follow up on the Coke situation. Cashman denied that Coke had a torn labrum and said he’s healthy:

    “Reports surfaced after the Marte/Nady deal that Yankee lefty prospect Phil Coke was pulled from the trade because he has a torn labrum. “Completely false,” GM Brian Cashman said. Yankee officials, in fact, said one delay in completing a deal was that Pittsburgh wanted to combine Coke and Daniel McCutchen in one package, and the Yanks refused feeling that was too high a price.

    As further proof of his health, the Yanks say, they will continue to pitch Coke out of the pen. They insist the plan was always to convert him to relief to keep him under his 2008 innings prescription, and they have liked him so much that they were going to consider him for the big-league pen before obtaining Marte.

    When it was originally reported that Coke was part of this trade, a veteran NL scout said, “Coke is the pitcher with the highest ceiling (in the trade). He’s coming. He’s a strong, durable lefty. He has a fastball in the low 90s, and tops at 93. He doesn’t have a dominating out pitch , but I like him.”

    Whatever happened I’d guess it was the Pirates being difficult and overly concerned about pulling the trigger on the trade. That franchise has had such disastrous results with young pitchers they drafted getting hurt I’d bet this has very little to do with the true health of Coke’s arm and much more to do with the Pirates being antsy about the health of young pitchers.


  17. Heather Says:

    “Completely false,”
    “There’s nothing medically there,” Cashman said. “There are no issues on him, whatsoever, going forward.”

    If people aren’t convinced now, they never will be.

    Thanks for the audio, Mike.

    (Please note that I didn’t mock you for the Milli Vanilli thing a few comments up.)

  18. River Ave. Blues | Charleston barely avoids getting no-hit Says:

    […] GB/FB Phil Coke: 2 IP, zeroes, 3 K – 21 baserunners allowed & 39 K in his last 30 IP … labrum’s fine, but he’s going to work out of the ‘pen the rest of the year because he’s getting […]

  19. ebyank Says:

    Pittsburgh may have gotten cold feet and went back to Yanks after they heard from media. BUT, to say their were 2 list and that CNNSI, Foxsports and ESPN along with many writers had the wrong names is hard to beleive. Someone is not telling the truth here. Like I said, where their is smoke their is fire. CB is correct that pitchers will get MRI’s in the spring and maybe Coke’s showed some wear. Pittsburgh used it to try and increase the deal. I do find it hard to beleive that Coke was unaware of the diagnosis. I would think he would have asked questions at some point and if he was not smart enough to do it then wouldn’t you think he would ask the Yankees now what the story is?????

  20. thunderbaseball Says:

    Heather, your ability to avoid a perfect opportunity to mock is appreciated. Hopefully everyone got the reference I made up there…

    Obviously, I appreciate the traffic that the trade stuff has sent here, but I wish it would go away. Guys don’t want me asking about physicals and labrums and so on, and I don’t want to ask them about it.

    Until some other ridiculous report comes out (Coke removed from trade because he ties his shoelaces too fast!) I think I’m pretty much done with the whole thing.

  21. ebyank Says:

    Agreed, BUT if I was Coke I would ask that the MRI be sent to a doctor that my agent picks out and go from their. I would not ignore that anything happened!

  22. viridiana Says:

    EBYANK — Would you please learn the difference between “there” and “their” and take the trouble to spell correctly.


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