Coke undergoes physical in Cubs camp

MESA, Ariz. -- Phil Coke underwent a physical Friday, and if he passes all the tests, the left-handed reliever will officially join the Cubs on a Minor League contract. He said his timing should be just right.

"There were options on the table and honestly, out of all of them, the Cubbies and the storied franchise from top to bottom, it just feels like the right place to be," Coke said Friday.

The Cubs do need a left-hander in the bullpen, and Coke will be competing for a spot along with Zac Rosscup, Joseph Ortiz, Drake Britton, Hunter Cervenka, and Francisley Bueno.

Coke said he didn't like being considered a lefty specialist, adding "that's too fine of a pigeon hole." He spent the offseason working with a coach to get on track.

"I was concerned with solidifying things in my mechanics that I needed to get ironed out that had gotten away from me, and I worked really hard, really diligently day in and day out throughout the whole offseason," Coke said. "In doing so, I feel I'm in a much better place and repeating my delivery and throwing strikes with all my pitches. I can't ask for anything better. It was a great offseason for me. Hopefully, the next one is even better."

Coke, 32, spent the last five seasons with the Tigers, and is 22-27 in his career with a 4.16 ERA and eight saves.

He met with Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein earlier this week before deciding to sign with the Cubs.

"I like what's being laid down and put in place here," Coke said of the Cubs. "I feel this team is on the brink of doing something very special. For some reason, I seem to have a knack of finding myself in those situations."

He was eager to work with manager Joe Maddon.

"He's the guy," Coke said. "That's not saying anything bad about any of the guys who have run the programs I've been involved in. [Joe] Girardi was awesome, [Jim] Leyland was awesome and so was [Brad] Ausmus."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.