As he works to come back after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the middle of the 2012 season, reliever Todd Coffey will hold a showcase for interested teams by the end of the month. The showcase, which will take place in Arizona, is tentatively scheduled for January 17, but could be moved back to January 24 to accomodate interested teams.
"We had eleven teams that were really interested at the Winter Meetings, so I want to do a showcase to show everyone that I'm healthy and go from there," Coffey said over the phone on Thursday night. "Eleven are definitely very interested and want to see me throw as soon as possible. My agent [Rick Thurman of Beverly Hills Sports Council] thinks we'll probably have 21 teams that will be there, and that's another reason we are trying to schedule it out."
Coffey, 33, missed the second half of the 2012 season and all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in July 2012. He made 23 appearances with the Dodgers at the beginning of that season, posting a 4.66 ERA in 19.1 innings of work.
The surgery was the second of Coffey's career, following a similiar procedure in August 1999 that caused him to miss the entire 2000 season.
"I found this one a little bit easier to come back from, just from the aspect that I had the first one thirteen years ago, and the rehab was totally different," Coffey said. "Dr. [Dodgers' team doctor Neal] ElAttrache did an unbelievable job. He's a great surgeon, and a great person. He calls me on his personal cell phone to see how I'm doing and to keep up with me. I couldn't ask for a better doctor. As busy as he is, to call people, that's something special."
Coffey declined to go into detail on which teams are expressing interest, but did note that his experience in Los Angeles and relationship with Dr. ElAttrache makes a return to the Dodgers possible.
"[The Dodgers] have made a lot of signings this offseason with bullpen guys, but it's a possibility," Coffey said about returning to the Dodgers. "I would love to go back there. I loved it in L.A. It was unfortunate that I wasn't able to finish the whole season with them that year. It's always a possibility, you never know. I've learned that in my years in this game, you never know what's going to happen."
Eighteen months after surgery, Coffey says that his body is ready to prove to teams that he is ready to make an impact at the major league level again.
"Yeah, I would definitely say I'm 100%," Coffey said. "I've been throwing bullpens for about two weeks now, trying to build up the velocity. I'll take the radar gun out on Monday to see where I'm at. Everything's coming out crisp, the catcher says it's coming out firm with good movement. I started sliders last week--those are crisp, sharp, and short. Everything's feeling really good."
It is likely that a team looking to sign Coffey would give him a minor league contract with an invite to major league spring training that includes incentive clauses that would reward Coffey if he made the major league roster.
"All it is is being healthy," Coffey said. "I know how to pitch, I know how to get people out. I leave all that up to my agent. He finds the best spot for me, and finds the best deal. I have enough to worry about just trying to get hitters out, I'm not worried about the business aspect of it."
In eight major league seasons with the Reds (2005-2008), Brewers (2008-2010), Nationals (2011) and Dodgers (2012), Coffey is has a lifetime 25-18 record and 4.10 ERA in 461 major league appearances. His best season came in 2009 with the Brewers, when he pitched to a 4-4 record and 2.90 ERA in 83.2 innings over 78 appearances.
Coffey is known for sprinting from the bullpen to the mound before every appearance, but laughed at the proposition of doing that during his upcoming showcase.
"I'm gonna save that until I pitch in a game," Coffey said.