MLB playoff notes: Tigers' Jose Valverde says closer role still his
Detroit Tigers reliever Jose Valverde was confident he would return to his closer's role in Game 3 on Tuesday after being benched by manager Jim Leyland on Sunday to work on his mechanics.
"I'll be back," he said. "I have all my confidence, and I have my manager over there, and he has a lot of confidence in me too."
Valverde, who gave up four ninth-inning runs to blow a lead in Game 1, threw 25 pitches in the bullpen Sunday afternoon, working on slowing down his delivery. Meanwhile, Leyland gave Phil Coke a chance to be closer for a day, and watched him throw two scoreless innings for the save in the Tigers' 3-0 win over the Yankees.
"Now please don't write that Phil Coke is the new closer, because we are going to pick and choose what we do," Leyland said. "But today it worked out, and we're very fortunate the way the lineup played out."
Valverde said the closer controversy "is over" and he already has turned the page.
"If you have something bad, you take it and throw it in the garbage, and that's it," he said.
St. Louis outfielder Carlos Beltran, who played for the Giants last season, was booed during pregame introductions Sunday, but he has fond memories of playing in San Francisco.
"It was great," Beltran said. "Being able to play for the Giants was a good thing for me. I was looking forward to trying to be in [the playoffs]. Unfortunately, it didn't happen. But at the same time, just being able to play for these fans, they're very loud, they're good fans."
Beltran, acquired by the Giants in a trade with the New York Mets in late July last year, batted .323 with seven home runs and 18 RBIs in 44 games while also missing time with injuries.
The All-Star outfielder signed a $26 million, two-year deal with the Cardinals last winter.