PinstripesPlus.com: What are your primary pitches?
Phil Coke: I like to work my fastball, changeup, and I'm working on my curveball, and I throw a split-finger changeup.
PinstripesPlus: What are your pitch speeds typically?
Coke: 88 to 90, 91. Back in the day, I've been known to pop a 93. But as of late I've just been trying to throw a majority of strikes with all my pitches instead of trying to overpower people.
PinstripesPlus: What is your absolute best pitch - your strikeout pitch?
Coke: The last couple of years it's been the split change I developed three years go. Going into Staten Island, I was messing around with grip on the two-seam, and it dove really hard away from a right-handed hitter. [I] threw it to the first guy I faced after the bullpen, went one, two, three, and sat them down. So it worked pretty good, so I just stayed with it.
PinstripesPlus: What pitches are you working on developing now or later?
Coke: None currently. It's been brought up that possibly working on throwing a cutter sometime in my career. As of right now that's pretty much it.
PinstripesPlus: Do you see yourself more as a power pitcher or finesse pitcher?
Coke: Kind of a mix. Like at times, I'm not afraid to go in on somebody. If I have them 0-2 or if I feel like I need to back somebody off. I'm not afraid to wind up and let it go. Primarily I try to do a mix of both.
PinstripesPlus: Which Major League pitcher do you think you most resemble?
Coke: Well if I don't say Ted Lilly, he'd probably get mad at me. He's one of my buddies. He works with the same trainer I do during the off season. We pitch close to the same. I mean we're not identical by any means. He's got a lot of upper body tilt, and I just try to get my shoulders through.
PinstripesPlus: What has helped you get off to the fast start you've gotten off to this year?
Coke: Just locating all my pitches. Going out there with the attitude of just have fun. It's not easy to do. My last start out I didn't feel like I was having much fun, but I battled through it, and this next time out I'll be a little bit more on top of my game.
PinstripesPlus: If you had to give a scouting report on yourself, what would you say it consists of?
Coke: Athletic, knows what to do with the ball and when to do it. Consistent. Just an all around good guy. I try to be the best I can with all these different guys in the clubhouse. For the last three or four years now I've been working on learning Spanish with these guys. And I'm able to keep up with them for the most part.
PinstripesPlus: What did you spend your offseason working on?
Coke: Mainly just smoothing out my mechanics. If you have smooth mechanics your pitches are going to work for you. So it's really been coming down to just simplifying my mechanics as much as possible. Throwing strikes as much as I can.
PinstripesPlus: Do you view yourself more as a starter or a relief pitcher in the future?
Coke: I view myself as whatever I'm asked to do. I mean, there are a lot of great arms in the organization. Some of them are starters, some of them are relievers, some better then others. And I have no problem doing whatever they ask of me.
PinstripesPlus: What are your thoughts about last year. Some people feel you kind of struggled last year?
Coke: I was struggling a little bit. I got a little anxious at times and started worrying about things that had nothing to do with the day that I was on the mound. Wondering if I was going to be kept around, because I felt like I was struggling. And obviously if you want to go just based on my ERA, I was. I've never given up eleven bombs in a season before. So I was like ‘oh my goodness what am I going to do'. Other then that, it was a whole bunch of things, just not making the pitches when I needed to.
PinstripesPlus: What are your opinions about being a left handed-pitcher in the Yankee organization?
Coke: A lot of people say that the lefties have it easy and they are lucky and so on and so forth. And that the hitters don't like it and so on and so forth. I don't view it as like a special place. Yeah I might have a little bit of an opportunity being left-handed. But I got to work my butt of just like everyone else.
PinstripesPlus: Who do you think is the biggest sleeper on team both as a pitcher and hitter?
Coke: I know Estee Harris' name has been on Pinstripes a couple of times. He's working on a couple of little things, and when he nails those down, he's really going to really light it up. I'm positive of that. Chris Malec, I don't know what the buzz is going around about that gentleman. He's a great fielder. I don't mind having him play behind me at all. And let's see. Wow pitchers, I know that Gomez has been struggling a little bit but he's coming around very quickly. He's getting his control. It's great to see. I mean as another left-handed pitcher, it's great to see that he's getting himself back to where he wants to be. (It should be note that Malec was standing behind us laughing at him during the interview)
Q&A with Phil Coke
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