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Valverde returns to Tigers on one-year deal, will close

Associated Press

4/23/2013 8:27:14 PM

DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers have agreed to a one-year contract with reliever Jose Valverde, who is expected back with the team Wednesday.

And manager Jim Leyland says Valverde will be Detroit's closer immediately.

Valverde was the Tigers' closer the last three years, but the team was prepared to let him leave as a free agent after he faltered during the 2012 post-season. But he never signed elsewhere, and Detroit brought him back on a minor league deal.

He pitched three scoreless innings at Class-A Lakeland, and now he's being called all the way back up to the majors.

Detroit optioned right-hander Brayan Villarreal to Triple-A Toledo, and the Tigers expect to make another move to clear space for Valverde on the 40-man roster.