AP source: Cubs reach minor league deal with LHP Phil Coke

MESA, Ariz. (AP) The Chicago Cubs agreed to a minor league deal with Phil Coke on Thursday, adding the veteran reliever to the competition for a lefty specialist in their bullpen.

A person with direct knowledge of the situation said Coke is planning to join the Cubs’ major league camp on Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the deal.

Coke made 62 appearances for Detroit last season and finished with a 5-2 record and a 3.88 ERA. He has held lefties to a .243 batting average for his career.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon declined to confirm the move, but praised Coke’s ability.

”It’s not a big secret that we’re seeking a left-handed kind of a specialist and you know it’s nice to have that lefty that’s also able to get out the righty,” Maddon said. ”I’ve seen Phil Coke a lot in the past and he was able to get out righties, also.”

Francisley Bueno and Joseph Ortiz also are in the mix for the lefty role in Chicago’s bullpen. Felix Doubront also could be added to the competition if he doesn’t win the fifth spot in the rotation.

Bueno agreed to a minor league deal with Chicago in February. Ortiz was claimed off waivers from Texas in October.

The 32-year-old Coke also has a 4.26 ERA in 26 career postseason games. The left-hander also pitched in the playoffs in each of the last four years with the Tigers.

Fox Sports was the first to report the move.