April 16th, 2013

Valverde to stick in Lakeland a while longer

Jose Valverde’s road potentially back to Detroit is going to keep him in Lakeland a little while longer. It sounds like he’ll be in the minors longer than that.

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed the immediate plans on Valverde and the thought process going forward. His next outing will be Wednesday in an extended Spring Training game. If all goes well, Dombrowski continued, the plan is for Valverde to pitch Friday and Saturday for the Class A team in Lakeland.

No plans are set from there. Part of it depends on how Valverde pitches, but part of it also depends on the weather around the Midwest.

“It’s a decision for us to make sure he continues to work,” Dombrowski said during pregame batting practice Tuesday at Safeco Field. “He’s doing fine. His progress has been fine. We just continue to analyze, and we’ve worked with him too, wanting to make sure where his comfort zone is.”

Asked if Valverde needs to pitch at a higher level in the minors before the Tigers make a decision, Dombrowski said, “Higher level than extended [Spring Training], yes. We’re going to put him in A-ball for sure. But we have until May 8 to make a decision, so I would think at some point [yes].

“At this point, we’re not just going to leave him in Lakeland and make a decision. Our plans would be to move him up, but the weather has been so bad. We don’t want him to go and join the Toledo club and all of a sudden be sitting there for three or four days in a shortened time period and not pitching because of the weather.”

That doesn’t mean they have to pitch him in Toledo, Dombrowski cautioned, to make a decision.

The May 8 date, it turns out, is the day Valverde can exercise the opt-out clause in his minor-league contract if he’s not in the Majors by then. It is not a May 5 opt-out as previously reported. It was originally May 5, but was pushed back when visa issues delayed Valverde’s arrival to Tigers extended Spring Training.

Tuesday: Tigers at Mariners


What would be a good way for Aaron Harang to make a good impression in his first start as a Mariner? If he can keep up his history against Miguel Cabrera, that would be a start. If you look at the batter-pitcher numbers, this isn’t all that bad a matchup for Harang.

The one change from the regular lineup is in left field, where Don Kelly gets the start in place of Andy Dirks. No obvious matchup playing here.


  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (2-for-8, walk, K’s vs. Harang)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B (2-for-15, HR, 2 K’s vs. Harang)
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B (14-for-44, 3 HR, 2 walks, 8 K’s vs. Harang)
  5. Victor Martinez, DH (3-for-17, HR, walk, 3 K’s vs. Harang)
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS (7-for-23, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, walk, 6 K’s vs. Harang)
  7. Alex Avila, C
  8. Omar Infante, 2B (0-for-6 vs. Harang)
  9. Don Kelly, LF (0-for-3, walk vs. Harang)

P: Doug Fister


  1. Franklin Gutierrez, CF (2 HRs in last 3 games)
  2. Kyle Seager, 3B (0-for-3, K against Fister)
  3. Kendrys Morales, DH (2-for-9, HR against Fister)
  4. Michael Morse, RF (0-for-3 against Fister)
  5. Raul Ibanez, LF (3-for-5, 2 doubles, triple, walk against Fister)
  6. Justin Smoak, 1B (1-for-6 against Fister)
  7. Kelly Shoppach, C (0-for-4, 2 K’s against Fister)
  8. Dustin Ackley, 2B (1-for-3 against Fister)
  9. Brendan Ryan, SS (0-for-3 against Fister)

P: Aaron Harang