The Union Democrat Sports Department

Tuolumne County native and Sonora High graduate Phil Coke has made a quick return to the American League after a brief stint earlier this season with the Chicago Cubs.

The Toronto Blue Jays signed Coke to a Minor League contract late last month andFridaypromoted him to the big club from their Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons.

Coke, 32, appeared in three games with the Bisons where he threw four scoreless innings with four strikeouts before receiving his promotion.

The Cubs designated Coke for assignment on May 18 and released him on May 26 after he posted a 6.30 earned run average in 16 games.

Coke told Gregor Chisholm of MLB.comon Thursday, "There were a couple of times I was pulled out of games with inherited runners that ended up scoring and that's what affected the overall ERA," Coke said while attempting to explain the subpar numbers with the Cubs.

"It was a little weird, it was a little strange the way I felt like I was throwing the ball. I'd gone four in a row, had three days off, gave up a couple of runs in Milwaukee, you can look at it however you want to look at it, but what it comes down to is I gave up a homer with a couple of runners on. It's not what I was looking to do, I threw the pitch to the scouting report and got beat."

The left-handed Coke has been a more than durable reliever over his eight-year career. He has appeared in 399 games, an average of 55 appearances per year through his first seven seasons.

He won a World Series title with the New York Yankees in 2009 and came close to another ring in 2012 with Detroit, but the Tigers fell to the San Francisco Giants.

For his career, he is 22-27 with a 4.21 ERA. He has been in postseason five times and has made 26 appearances where he has a 4.26 ERA in 19 innings.

Coke will join Aaron Loup and Brett Cecil as left-handers in the Blue Jays' bullpen.

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