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Jose Valverde set to join Tigers, take over as closer

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

Jose Valverde is expected back with the Tigers very soon. (USATSI)

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UPDATE: Valverde will indeed join the Tigers on Wednesday, and he will take over as their closer according to Heyman. The Tigers must have liked what they saw during his minor league outings.

* * *

The Tigers are planning to activate former closer Jose Valverde soon, perhaps in the next couple of days according to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. MLB.com's Jason Beck confirmed the right-hander traveled to Detroit on Tuesday.

Valderde, 35, signed a minor-league contract with Detroit earlier this month. He appeared in three games for the team's High Class-A affiliate after signing, striking out four and walking two in three scoreless innings.

From 2010-12, Valverde saved 110 games with a 3.00 ERA for the Tigers. He struggled in a big way down the stretch last summer, allowing nine runs in his final 16 1/3 regular season innings. Valverde was basically unusable in the postseason, surrendering nine runs in 2 2/3 innings across four appearances during the club's run to the AL pennant.

The Tigers added hard-throwing right-hander Bruce Rondon to their bullpen on Tuesday as Octavio Dotel was placed on the DL. Manager Jim Leyland does not have a set closer right now -- the team has three total saves by three different pitchers -- so the opportunity for regular ninth inning work will be there for both Rondon and Valverde. They're going to have to prove they're capable of consistently retiring big leaguers first, however.

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