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Tigers' Leyland yanks Valverde as closer

The SportsXchange

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland announced Sunday afternoon he will not use closer Jose Valverde in that role in, at least temporarily.

Leyland did not have a timetable for Valverde to return as closer, but said the pitcher still has the long-term job.

Valverde has a 27.00 ERA in 2 1/3 innings of relief during three postseason appearances. On Saturday night, he allowed four ninth-inning runs in allowing the New York Yankees to forge a 4-4 tie in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. The Tigers won 6-4 in 12 innings.

In Game 4 of the AL Division Series, Valverde allowed three ninth-inning runs as the Oakland A's pulled out a 4-3 victory.

Valverde had 35 of 40 save opportunities during the regular season. He was 49 of 49 last season.

Leyland said there would be no closer in the interim and relievers would be called upon depending on the matchup. He said Valverde is expected to continue to contribute to the pitching staff.

"We can't go with a 10-man pitching staff," Leyland told the Detroit Free Press. "We need Jose Valverde."
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