The Tigers asked Jose Valverde to finish a 10-6 game against the White Sox on Thursday, but he was forced to leave with two outs due to lower back tightness.
Valverde retired the first two batters he faced before giving up a single to Paul Konerko and a double to A.J. Pierzynski. He left mid-at-bat while Alex Rios was up.
“His lower back tightened up, and we had to get him out of there,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after the game.
Valverde, who was a perfect 49-for-49 saving games in 2011, hasn’t shown last year’s form at any point this season. He entered the day with a 4.60 ERA and a 13/11 K/BB ratio in 15 2/3 innings. He had also blown two of his nine save chances.
If Valverde has to miss additional time, either Octavio Dotel or Joaquin Benoit would close in his place. Dotel got the save today despite giving up a two-run single after Valverde left.
The Reds lost their first arbitration case of the offseason, per a report from Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Second baseman Scooter Gennett was awarded the $5.7 million salary figure he was seeking from the team, a $600,000 bump over the $5.1 million they countered with last month.
Gennett, 27, is coming off of a career-best performance in 2017. After getting claimed off of waivers by the Reds last March, he broke out with an impressive .295/.342/.531 batting line, 27 home runs and 2.4 fWAR in 497 plate appearances. By season’s end, he ranked among the top five most productive second basemen in the National League (and 12th overall). He’s currently set to remain under team control through 2019.
Gennett was only the second Reds player to go to an arbitration hearing this winter. Fellow infielder Eugenio Suarez was defeated in arbitration last week and stands to make just $3.75 million compared to the $4.2 million he filed for in January. All 22 arbitration cases have now been resolved. Twelve were decided in favor of the players.