Don’t expect to see Jose Valverde pitch for the Tigers again

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Asked about Jose Valverde’s latest terrible outing in Game 1 of the World Series last night, Tigers manager Jim Leyland replied: “You know, he wasn’t terrible. He just wasn’t good.”

That’s about as nice as he could possibly phrase things considering Valverde has now allowed nine runs while recording a grand total of five outs in his last three appearances.

And they may be his final appearances, both of the season and for the Tigers. Valverde replied “you never know, you have to play until it’s over” when asked last night he expected to pitch again versus the Giants, reiterating that he felt his mechanics were improved after making some between-series adjustments with pitching coach Jeff Jones.

It’s worth noting that Valverde’s velocity was plenty good last night, with his fastball consistently clocking in at 92-94 miles per hour, but after striking out pitcher Tim Lincecum the Giants’ actual hitters went double, single, single, single off Valverde before Leyland removed him for Joaquin Benoit.

Valverde insisted that “I never lose my confidence” but even if that’s somehow true the same obviously can’t be said about Leyland’s confidence in the longtime closer and at this point it’d be surprising to see the impending free agent make another appearance for the Tigers.

Mets to move Matt Harvey to the bullpen

Matt Harvey
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Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is heading to the bullpen, according to comments made by club manager Mickey Callaway on Saturday. As predicted, Harvey doesn’t appear to be taking the news particularly well, going so far as to tell Callaway that the decision has him “at a 10 with being pissed off” and that he’s motivated to prove himself as a starter.

It’s been rough going for Harvey this spring. After missing significant time to a shoulder injury last season, the 29-year-old righty returned to the mound with a lot left to prove. He pitched to an 0-2 record in four starts, issuing 14 runs, four home runs and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings. It’s been a while since the Mets have seen anything better out of their starter — he hasn’t turned in a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015 and hasn’t pitched well enough to earn an All-Star berth since 2013 — and now it appears they’re at the end of their rope.

At this point, the Mets insist that the shift is a temporary one. While Callaway has helped successfully convert several starters to the bullpen, including Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco, that’s not the plan for this veteran right-hander. Instead, both the team and Harvey seem to view the change as a way to clear up any mental blocks Harvey may be encountering on the mound. “We know he’s healthy,” assistant GM John Ricco told reporters. “He’s feeling good. Then you get to, is this a little bit of a mental thing, a confidence thing? One of the things we talk about is getting him into the ‘pen, where he can have success in short spurts, get that confidence back and really let it go and get back to being a guy who can dominate the way he’s shown in the past.”

Harvey will be eligible to pitch out of the bullpen on Tuesday, when the Mets are scheduled to kick off their next road series against the Cardinals. As for his replacement, left-hander Jason Vargas will resume his role in the rotation when he comes off the disabled list next Saturday.