DETROIT -- The move that Tigers fans were hoping for happened Friday.
Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski announced the team was designating closer Jose Valverde for assignment.
Dombrowski said they asked Valverde if he'd be willing to go to Triple-A Toledo if he cleared waivers but did not receive a definitive answer from him.
"If we would get waivers on him at some point, we have asked him if hewould go to Triple-A for us, and try to work with him there, try to get himstraightened out," Dombrowski said. "Its a very difficult situation to be able to fix that here, with his arm angle.
"We think we have a guy that can close games for us, if we get him fixed.The velocity has been fine. Of course, he hasnt had his split. Hes had commandproblems. The last couple weeks havent been good.Before, he threw the ball fine. And thats what were hoping, we can get himback. We figure we have nothing to lose to try."
The Tigers also recalled Al Alburquerque and Avisail Garcia from Toledo and placed Matt Tuiasosopo on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 20, with a strained intercostal muscle.
"(He hurt it) in the cage, swinging," Leyland said. "That's why he was scratched from the game last night."
Alburquerque was 0-1 with a 3.14 ERA at Toledo. He had 27 strikeouts and 13 walks in 14 13 innings.
"He hast thrown the ball really well lately," Dombrowski said. "At first when he went down there, he was not quite as sharp. It took him a while to bounce back. His sliders beengood, his fastballs been thrown with more consistency. I dont think hes evergoing to be pinpoint.
"Thats not how he was when he was effective. He feelsgood about himself, he feels like hes ready to come back here and help us. Andthe recommendation is that he can come back and help us."
The bullpen could use some help. Currently, Tigers relievers are 5-13 with a 3.99 ERA, compared to 35-18 with a 3.46 ERA for the starters.
But Dombrowski said he was satisfied with the bullpen right now.
"If you look out there, right now, there are not a lot of shutdown,lockdown closers out there right now anywhere," Dombrowski said. "Theres very few of them. And alot of people have struggled with the back end of their bullpens.
"So its asituation where sometimes mixing and matching can work for you. We think we haveguys with the ability to do so. Our bullpen is really middle of the road inbaseball. Its not last in baseball. Its middle of the road. Its just, atinopportune times, weve lost some tough ballgames, and at the end."
For those wondering about Bruce Rondon, he is 1-1 with a 1.01 ERA and 0.90 WHIP with the Mud Hens.
"Rondon has thrown the ball very well for us," Dombrowski said. "Hecontinues to improve. He continues to work on some of the things that he needsto work on, his breaking stuff, spotting, command of his fastball, his quicknessto the plate.
"Some people think hes ready to come here and pitch right now inthe organization, and do a good job for us."
With the way the starters have pitched, Dombrowski said they weren't sure that Rondon would get enough work if he were called up.
JACKSON SORECenter fielder Austin Jackson was not in the lineup Friday night.
Garcia was playing center field and Omar Infante was leading off.
"His legs are sore," Leyland said. "He's just coming back, he's been running around a lot lately, around the bases a lot and running balls down in center field. He's a little sore today so he's getting the day off against a left-hand pitcher, which normally he wouldn't do but I won't take any chances."
Jackson was hopeful that he would feel good enough to play Saturday.
"I think just kind of do some treatment with it and kind of get that stiffness, soreness out of there," Jackson said. "Things should be all right.Just kind of take it easy, don't want to make it worse by doing too much."
BULLPEN REPORTLeyland said all relievers were available except for Drew Smyly, who threw 33 pitches Thursday night.