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Leyland sticking with Valverde as closer

MINNEAPOLIS -- After his third blown save of the season on Wednesday in Kansas City, questions have cropped up about Jose Valverde's role as the Tigers' closer.

While media and fans alike have suggested several different answers, Tigers manager Jim Leyland firmly stated he will stick with Valverde for those final outs.

"We're going to do the best we can," Leyland said. "We're going to use Jose Valverde until we decide Jose Valverde can or can't do it, or we've got somebody else better. That's what we're doing.

"Basically what it boils down to is, everybody can tell me I'm bald, but no one can tell me how to grow hair."

Leyland also noted that Valverde is working on his splitter -- the pitch that has been getting him into some tough situations -- and has been pushing it lately, rather than throwing the pitch.

"He hasn't been consistent on throwing it the way you're supposed to throw it," Leyland said. "He'll get underneath it and is kind of pushing it."

Valverde has made 18 appearances this season entering play Friday against the Twins, going 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA and nine saves. He's given up 13 hits and eight earned runs in 17 1/3 innings of work.

Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter for
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