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Tigers bring back Jose Valverde on minor-league deal

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

Jose Valverde
Papa Grande, back with Detroit. (USATSI)

More MLB: Scoreboard | Standings | Probable Pitchers | Sortable Stats | Odds

Former Tigers closer Jose Valverde has signed a minor-league deal with the Tigers, the club announced Thursday. He will report to Lakeland, home of the Tigers' High-A affiliate, which is also home to the Tigers' spring camp. So this doesn't necessarily mean he's reporting to High-A.

Valverde, 35, successfully saved 35 games in 40 chances for the Tigers last season with a 3.78 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 48 strikeouts in 69 innings. He completely fell apart in the playoffs, losing his closing job after a meltdown in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Yankees.

The Tigers entered the spring with the plan of using 21-year-old fireballer Bruce Rondon as their closer, but things didn't quite work out in spring training, so he was sent to Triple-A.

In the first game this season, the Tigers used Phil Coke to get the last two outs of the game and the save in a 4-2 win over the Twins. On Wednesday, however, Coke blew the save in the ninth on a two-run walkoff double by Eduardo Escobar.

Let us hope the Tigers aren't overreacting to one blown save -- after all, there were 10 on Wednesday -- and are instead just going after depth in the form of a familiar face.

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