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Phil Coke upbeat about Tigers' future despite World Series sweep

Tigers reliever Phil Coke is optimistic about the team's chances in 2013.

Jonathan Daniel

Detroit Tigers pitcher Phil Coke believes his team will be back in the World Series next season, the reliever told reporters on Sunday night (via George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press).

"I don't think there's a reason why you can't expect us to be here next year - on the other end... don't think we won't be back."

Coke's suggestion is not far-fetched. The Tigers will have Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder and most of the remainder of the team's core returning in 2013. In addition, they'll have a healthy Doug Fister and could potentially re-sign fellow starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez as a free agent.

An area of concern for Detroit is its bullpen, particularly at the back-end, where Jose Valverde had some struggles after a dominant 2011 season. However, Coke was the feel-good hit of the fall for the Tigers, energizing the team by striking out 13 batters in less than 11 innings of relief while posting a 0.84 ERA during the postseason.

The Tigers will open the 2013 season on the road against the Minnesota Twins.