Jose Valverde exits Tigers game with lower back tightness

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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.

Jose Reyes is hitless in 20 plate appearances to start the season

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Mets backup infielder Jose Reyes pinch-hit and popped up in the top of the eighth inning of Thursday night’s game in Atlanta against the Braves. That ran his streak up to 20 consecutive hitless plate appearances to start the 2018 season. He has reached base once, however, on a walk, so there’s that.

Reyes, 34, signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Mets near the end of January. At the time, the Mets hadn’t yet signed Todd Frazier, so Reyes was in the mix to contribute as a utilityman but he has operated as a bat off the bench for the most part this season.

One wonders how much longer the Mets are going to let Reyes flounder. According to FanGraphs, he has already been worth a half-win less than a replacement-level player. Only eight other players have been as bad or worse this season.