It was pretty clear that Jose Valverde was on the fast track to the Tigers' bullpen once he was signed to a minor league deal earlier this month. When Octavio Dotel got officially shelved on the DL yesterday with a bum elbow, Valverde's ticket back to the bigs came even sooner.
Back as the team's closer, Valverde got a chance to redeem himself from a horrid playoffs on Day 1. Enter Papa Grande [GIF and pic via @WorldofIsaac]:
Valverde threw all fastballs, 18 of them, to earn a 1-2-3 save. Alex Gordon and Billy Butler flew out to or around the warning track, but that's not important. Valverde's splitter was reportedly looking good in Single-A, so once he starts mixing that in, he'll hopefully rack up some strikeouts in those two-strike counts. His fastball was consistently 93-94 and Valverde, with his two-colored goatee, appeared to be having fun out there again, and that's encouraging.