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MLB notebook: Tigers closer Valverde gets rest in Game 2

REUTERS
The Yankees' Raul Ibanez hits a two-run homer off Tigers closer Jose Valverde (46) as Tigers catcher Gerald Laird looks on during the ninth inning of Game 1 of the AL Championship Series in New York on Oct. 13, 2012. REUTERS/Bill Kostroun

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Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, 8:20 p.m.
 

Jose Valverde didn't close for the Detroit Tigers in Game 2 of the AL Championship Series, but manager Jim Leyland said the reliever is keeping his role for now.

“I guess that sounds like I am mud-watching, but I am really not. I still consider him the closer, but he will not close the game,” Leyland said. “We will do some work with him.”

Valverde allowed a tying two-run double to Oakland's Seth Smith on Wednesday in Game 4 of the AL Division Series as Detroit lost, 4-3, then gave up two-run homers in the ninth inning to the Yankees' Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez in Saturday's ALCS opener. Detroit rebounded to win, 6-4, in 12 innings.

After converting all 49 save chances during the 2011 regular season, the 34-year-old right-hander was 35 for 40 this year.

Leyland and pitching coach Jeff Jones were examining Valverde's delivery at 3 a.m.

“It is way too slow. The tempo is not good at all,” Leyland said. “I don't even know if I am right about it, I probably shouldn't say it, but I will say it anyway, it almost appears to me that it looks like he is kind of waiting for something bad to happen. And I don't know if I am accurate on that, I may be totally wrong. But sometimes when you read a player, you can see that he's not quite as confident.”

• San Francisco Giants first base coach Roberto Kelly will miss at least the first two games of the NL Championship Series with a concussion after being hit in the back of the head by a foul ball in batting practice. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said before Game 1 against St. Louis that Kelly remains at home recovering a day after being hit by a ball off the bat of Buster Posey. Bochy said Kelly did not sleep much Saturday night and might come to the stadium Sunday to be checked out by the training staff. Assistant batting coach Joe Lefebvre will take over Kelly's duties for at least the first two games of the series.

• The 16-month-old son of Houston Astros catcher Carlos Corporan has died. Corporan told the team that Carlos Corporan Jr., had died. The team said he had undergone four heart surgeries since his birth in June 2011. The team released a statement offering condolences to the Corporan family, calling the boy's battle with health issues ‘'an inspiration to so many of us.”

— AP

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