Valverde out until further notice
The Tigers are holding out closer Jose Valverde until further notice with an unspecified injury, potentially a recurrence of the tenderness around his elbow that bothered him last week.
“He’s not right,” manager Jim Leyland said, “and I’m not going to pitch him. He’s off until he tells me he’s able to pitch, and he’s not able to pitch right now.”
Leyland would not go into details about the injury, but Valverde’s earlier issues would seemingly suggest it’s related to that. Valverde was not available for comment.
Valverde went more than a week between outings before he returned to pitch a scoreless innings with a walk Wednesday at Texas. He threw just two out of 11 pitches for strikes, but they both went for groundouts. After a four-pitch walk, his inning ended with Gerald Laird threw out David Murphy trying to steal second base.
It marked just the second scoreless performance in Valverde’s last six outings, though one of those featured an unearned run over three innings in a victory September 2 over the Twins.
Leyland said Phil Coke will serve as the closer for the time being. He will not be used before the ninth inning in those situations.
“I don’t know how long that’s going to last,” Leyland said, “but that’s just the way it’s going to have to be for right now. We’re short.”