Results tagged ‘ Jose Valverde ’

Valverde, Cabrera battling stomach bug

The Tigers survived their trip from warm, sunny Florida to chilly New York last week, but their Sunday night trip here has them worried about a stomach bug.

Jose Valverde was the first to have it. He said he was awake all night and couldn’t hold down food Monday. Then American League MVP runner-up Miguel Cabrera came to the clubhouse feeling bad Monday morning. By mid-afternoon, he was coming back into the clubhouse between innings to throw up.

“He’s sick as a dog,” manager Jim Leyland said.

Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said that was the known extent of it. However, Valverde said “at least three or four” players had it.

The belief right now is that it could be food-related. Valverde said he ate something on the flight to Baltimore last night and felt ill back at his hotel. Cabrera, however, said he didn’t fall ill until Monday morning. He was laying on the couch in the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards a few hours before game time, but didn’t suggest anything was wrong.

Cabrera went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. If he feels the way Valverde feels, Valverde said, it’s no wonder he had a bad day.

“I feel [terrible] right now,” Valverde said.

Justin Verlander could relate. He had a nasty bout of food poisoning that confined him to his bed in his New York hotel room all day Friday, he said. His case, however, is supposedly unrelated, and he’s regaining strength ahead of his scheduled start here Wednesday.

“At least I know what it was,” Verlander said.

Monday: Magglio returns to lineup

20110404-011108.jpgIt’s home opener day in Baltimore, and the weather is unbelievably gorgeous. The atmosphere is festive, and after the O’s swept the Rays over the weekend, the fans are nuts. Also a few Tigers fans here, though.

I think even if it weren’t so warm (like 70s warm), Magglio Ordonez probably would’ve been back in the lineup. There wasn’t so much as a limp on his ankle, and he seemed perfectly fine this morning when he showed no inclination to talk about his sore right ankle. With weather resembling spring training, there’s no doubt.

“I felt pretty good about him yesterday,” manager Jim Leyland said. “He could’ve pinch-hit.”

With that issue solved, the next question is how Leyland fits him into the lineup and who’s the odd man out. Today, it’s Ryan Raburn. Boesch starts in left field, Victor Martinez at DH and Alex Avila at catcher.

The bullpen will be interesting to watch today. Phil Coke isn’t available after his two innings Sunday, and unless he gets an inning Wednesday, Leyland said he probably won’t pitch again until he makes his first scheduled start Saturday. That means some other guys are going to have to step up if they have a lead in the seventh inning.

If they take a lead into the ninth, Jose Valverde is available, but he’s also battling a suspected case of food poisoning that he said had him throwing up all night. It doesn’t appear to be spreading around the clubhouse, but it’s probably worth keeping in mind in Valverde’s case.


  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Will Rhymes, 2B
  3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Brennan Boesch, LF
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Brandon Inge, 3B

P: Rick Porcello


  1. Brian Roberts, 2B
  2. Nick Markakis, RF
  3. Derrek Lee, 1B
  4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
  5. Matt Wieters, C
  6. Adam Jones, CF
  7. Mark Reynolds, 3B
  8. Felix Pie, LF
  9. J.J. Hardy, SS

P: Jake Arrieta


Valverde is going to have a pitch count

If there was a lasting image to the Tigers’ second-half fade from contention other than the injuries to Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen last year, it might’ve been Jose Valverde’s 60-pitch marathon to finish off a July 30 win at Boston. He needed every one of those pitches to turn what had been a 6-1 lead into a 6-5 loss, and he didn’t seem to be the same after that.

That kind of outing won’t happen again in 2011.

“If his pitch count gets to a certain point, I’m going to take him out,” manager Jim Leyland said Saturday morning.

Doesn’t matter the situation or the state of the bullpen after that. Leyland wouldn’t say that the pitch count would be, but he indicated it would be a firm limit.

Valverde had two 38-pitch outings on top of the infamous 60-pitch affair, though one of them was an extra-inning battle at Minnesota Sept. 2 in which he lasted three innings. Generally speaking, if he entered a game in the eighth inning to close it out, he was open for trouble.

Leyland didn’t want to do it, but Joel Zumaya’s season-ending injury and other problems, including Phil Coke’s workload, left him without many late-inning arms he could count on. With Joaquin Benoit now on board to go with Ryan Perry and Joel Zumaya, depth shouldn’t be a problem if everybody’s healthy.

“He’ll be protected,” Leyland said of Valverde. “All our pitchers are.”

Valverde missed his third consecutive day of work Saturday with flu-like symptoms. Leyland said he hopes to have Valverde back Sunday.

Day 1 notes: Leyland targets Valverde for PFP

Remember Jim Leyland’s running challenge to Justin Verlander on PFP grounders in workouts last spring training? Leyland would crow whenever he got a ground ball past Verlander, who’s competitive enough that he wants to win at that. Kept waiting to see if they renewed the challenge Monday, the first day of spring workouts, but Leyland found a new target for his fun: Jose Valverde.

“I set you up, baby! And I can do it again if I want,” Leyland bragged when he got a tricky ground ball past his closer.

“Anytime I want. Just a little on, a little off,” he said after another one.

Valverde loved it. He had a good laugh whenever Leyland said it. And then he came up with some pretty impressive grabs for a Big Potato.

Leyland loved that, too.

“He’s a fun guy,” Leyland said of Valverde after the workout. “He’s really got one of the better personalities I’ve ever been around. And I guess when you’re that big and strong, it’s probably a good thing you’ve got a good personality.

“He’s legitimately fun to be around. I like him a lot.”

Leyland also likes the PFP drills a lot, because the way they set it up, pitchers see a good number of ground balls without a lot of standing around. They separate the pitchers into groups and split them onto the four back fields of the Tigertown complex, then rotate them around. Each field emphasizes a different area.

“I think it’s a good drill,” Leyland said. “And I will do it for as long as I manage.”

Other things worth noting on the first day of official workouts:

  • Leyland mentioned this as a key camp for Tigers pitching prospects Andy Oliver, Jacob Turner and Charlie Furbush, even though their chances of making the team out of camp are slim (Furbush might have a better chance as a potential lefty reliever). Barring injuries, they won’t be part of the starting five, but they stand as the Tigers’ best options for insurance starters if somebody gets hurt, either here or during the season. “We want these guys to start this process today to get themselves prepared to get as close as they can,” Leyland said. “And if something does come up, maybe somebody is ready by the camp.”
  • For someone with such a key role on this team, Austin Jackson had possibly the quietest entrance of any potential star player this spring, which probably says a lot about how much he has learned in his second year. He showed up Monday morning after the clubhouse had emptied and pitchers and catchers had taken the field, then got in his work.
  • Among the arrivals Monday was Max St. Pierre, who reported to camp noticeably lighter. That wasn’t by design. He said he had two bouts of stomach virus and the flu, the combination of which dropped 15 pounds off his frame. He’s fine now, but he wants to regain some of that weight before the season starts.
  • Speaking of weight loss, Joel Zumaya said he’s down to 230 pounds, but wants to put on some weight before the season starts. “I want to be at the 240 range,” he said. “I’m at 230-231. But that’s just getting muscle and eating a little more. … If I can stay between 235 and 240, I think I’m good.”
  • In case you were wondering, Don Kelly was not among the catchers who took their place for bullpen sessions Monday morning. He was working with the other position players. That’s fine, because Leyland said a month ago that Kelly didn’t have to report with the catchers. Kelly was here early by his own choice.
  • Remember the ill-fated mohawk idea that went through the Tigers clubhouse last year? Detroit’s bullpen might have a replacement for it. Because right now, there are a lot of beards among the relievers, and not many plans to shave them anytime soon. Zumaya has pretty much a full beard and says he’s keeping it when the season starts. Schlereth has a beard fit for his native Alaska. Ryan Perry has a bit of one going. If it catches on, it’ll be a little cleaner looking than the mohawk one.

Pickles, pizza, fries, dancing: Welcome to the caravan

The Tigers winter caravan has gotten creative in recent years, from Magglio Ordonez checking in passengers at Detroit Metro Airport last winter to training exercises at the Detroit Fire Department’s academy a couple years ago. This year, the Tigers have some other diversions in store.

Ordonez, who served coffee at a local Starbucks to raise money for charity a couple years ago, will be serving french fries at a local McDonald’s with Jose Valverde. A dance-off at the Compas Artistic Center in Southwest Detroit will pit Valverde (presumably not doing his closer dance) against Tigers broadcaster Rod Allen and others (Magglio, perhaps?). Other players will be serving pizza to the homeless as part of the 25th anniversary of the Little Caesars Love Kitchen. Another bus will take players to the Hausbeck Pickle and Peppers plant in Saginaw.
This year’s caravan runs Thursday and Friday, Jan. 20-21, ahead of TigerFest on Jan. 22. With TigerFest sold out, the caravan might be the one way left for local fans without TigerFest tickets to run into their favorite players. Look for more details in a few days. 
There’s also a non-caravan event with Mud Hens Fandemonium on Wednesday, Jan. 19, which will include Jim Leyland and Rick Porcello. Tickets for that event are still on sale at

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.”

Valverde day-to-day with tender elbow

Jose Valverde was unavailable for Thursday’s save situation against the White Sox, and could miss the next couple days with tenderness around his right elbow.
“The last couple days, my arm’s been bothering me a little bit,” Valverde said after Ryan Perry finished off Thursday’s 6-3 win over the White Sox. “That’s what happens sometimes. I hope two more days and I’ll be ready.”
Valverde said he played catch Thursday morning and felt better.
There’s no indication so far that the tenderness has had anything to do with Valverde’s struggles since the All-Star break. It’s believed to be something that popped up fairly recently. Valverde has had his share of rest during the Tigers’ second-half struggles, but has had a decent workload lately, including a 38-pitch outing last Thursday to finish off the Twins.
Valverde leads the American League with 52 games finished. His 25 saves placed him ninth among AL closers entering Thursday. As long as he’s out, the Tigers are likely to close out games situationally with Perry and Phil Coke.

Valverde hopefully available tonight

The Tigers were optimistic that they would have Jose Valverde available Monday night against the Yankees, if they could get a save situation for him.

“We’re hoping he’s going to be OK,” manager Jim Leyland said Monday afternoon. “We got a pretty good report today.”

Valverde missed the entire weekend series against the White Sox with a deep abdominal strain on his right side. He said Monday afternoon he felt a lot better, though he couldn’t say for sure if he would be ready until he went out to play catch.

“I want to be ready to play,” Valverde said.

Phil Coke closed out back-to-back wins Saturday and Sunday in Valverde’s absence. Leyland said Coke would “hopefully” be available Monday as well. It would mean potentially three straight days of work, but Leyland pointed out that his pitch count Sunday was relatively low.

Heavy bullpen use over the weekend and Valverde’s situation prompted Detroit to call up Daniel Schlereth from Triple-A Toledo as an extra reliever. 

Valverde day-to-day with abdominal strain

Tigers closer Jose Valverde was not available for the save situation once the Tigers pulled ahead in the ninth inning Saturday night against the White Sox. He suffered a mild abdominal strain, according to the team, and is considered day-to-day.

Valverde last worked Wednesday against the Rays, recording the final four outs. Manager Jim Leyland said Valverde wasn’t available Friday night, either. Once Detroit took the lead Saturday, Leyland stayed with Phil Coke, who recorded the final out of the eighth to finish off his seventh win of the season.

Leyland said Valverde might be available Sunday.

Valverde likely available today

For the first time in almost a week, it appears that the Tigers will have their closer available if they take a lead into the ninth inning. Jose Valverde said Thursday morning he was feeling better after missing the last couple days with flu-like symptoms. He then threw a bullpen session during pregame batting practice.