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MLB notebook: Tigers' Valverde gets another shot as closer

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 7:48 p.m.

Jose Valverde wasn't supposed to come back.

After his postseason meltdowns against Oakland and the Yankees, the Tigers didn't even offer him a contract at the end of last season. Flame-throwing prospect Bruce Rondon looked set to be the new closer, even if he had never pitched an inning in the major leagues.

It didn't quite work out that way.

Rondon lost the job during spring training, closer-by-committee didn't work and Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski decided that Valverde wasn't a bad option after all. Detroit signed him to a minor league deal but needed only a couple extended spring training games and three innings in High-A to decide that “The Great Potato” was ready to close.

“I'm surprised at how quickly this has gone,” Dombrowski said. “We were expecting to have him pitch in Lakeland and then in (Triple-A) Toledo, but he's thrown the ball so well that we decided to pull the trigger right now. He's throwing 95 consistently, he's hitting 97, and his splitter is back. He looks like the pitcher we had two years ago than the one we had last season.”

All-Star plans unveiled for Citi Field

Baseball greats will parade past Grand Central Terminal, and a convention center will be transformed into a baseball-theme park as part of the festivities for the first All-Star Game at the new Mets stadium. Plans were announced Wednesday at City Hall for events leading up to the game July 16 at Citi Field in New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was joined by Mets star David Wright and former Mets Edgardo Alfonzo, John Franco and Mookie Wilson.

Ex-Dodgers CEO wants more money

Former Dodgers CEO Jamie McCourt isn't entitled to the more than $131 million she received in a divorce settlement because she agreed to the terms and her most recent claims aren't credible, an attorney for her ex-husband argued Wednesday in court. Jamie McCourt wants the agreement thrown out because she believes she was misled about the value of the Dodgers that was later sold for $2 billion.

Umpire Layne leaves with hand injury

Home plate umpire Jerry Layne left Wednesday's game between Boston and Oakland after the third inning because he was hit on the left hand by a foul tip. Layne was hit by Derek Norris' foul tip in the top of the third. Before the bottom of the inning, second base umpire Mike Estabrook ran off the field, presumably to get the equipment on. The bottom of the third was played with just three umpires. Estabrook returned for the top of the fourth and took over behind the plate.

Extra bases

The Red Sox recalled right-handed reliever Daniel Bard from Double-A Portland. ... The Dodgers optioned backup catcher Tim Federowicz to Triple-A Albuquerque, opening a roster spot for pitcher Ted Lilly. ... Indians catcher Lou Marson was activated from the 15-day disabled list.

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