While CK is trying to dig up information that doesn't exist, thought this may be a relief to some.
Tigers' Jim Leyland temporarily removes Jose Valverde as closer
NEW YORK -- Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland said today that he has temporarily taken struggling Jose Valverde out of the closer’s role.
Leyland said he still considers Valverde the closer, but he gave no timetable for his return to the role.
He acknowledged that it can be especially tough to put a struggling closer back in that role in the postseason because there is so little margin for error in a short series.
Leyland named no full-time replacement as closer. To do so would be to take another reliever out of his current role, and he doesn’t want to impose that automatic disruption on the bullpen. He said he will wait and see how the game goes.
For example, he might need Phil Coke to get a left-handed hitter out in the seventh. But if Coke is available in the ninth, he theoretically could close.
Leyland emphasized that Valverde remains a viable member of the 11-man pitching staff, expected to contribute in some way.
“We can’t go with a 10-man pitching staff,” Leyland said. “We need Jose Valverde.”
Because of that, it makes no sense to deflate Valverde’s confidence by saying he’ll never close again in this postseason.
Valverde has given up the last seven runs allowed by the Tigers -- three in his blown save on Wednesday night in Oakland, and four in his relinquishing of a four-run lead in the ninth on Saturday. Despite those performances, the Tigers won the series in Oakland and won Saturday night’s Game 1.
"In my heart, I definitely believed was a perfect time to get him right back to the mound with the little extra comfort of a four-run lead," Leyland said. "Obviously, it didn't work. I was wrong."
Leyland said Valverde’s delivery is too slow and that he will work with pitching coach Jeff Jones on that. Leyland also said Valverde “looks like he expects something bad to happen.”
But Leyland emphasized that Valverde has blown only five regular-season saves over the last two seasons. All those came this year after his perfect 49-for-49 last year.
Valverde then saved three more games in the playoffs, including the epic Game 5 at Yankee Stadium. After that game, Leyland said he wanted to kiss Valverde.
Today at Yankee Stadium, Leyland had to demote him.
Contact John Lowe: 313-223-4053 or firstname.lastname@example.org
. Follow him on Twitter @freeptigers.
Tigers lineup for today's Game 2
CF Austin Jackson
LF Quintin Berry
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder
DH Delmon Young
RF Andy Dirks
SS Jhonny Peralta
C Alex Avila
2B Omar Infante
P Anibal Sanchez
LF Ichiro Suzuki
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
DH Raul Ibanez
C Russell Martin
3B Alex Rodriguez
CF Curtis Granderson
RF Nick Swisher
SS Jayson Nix
P Hiroki Kuroda