While the Tigers are prepared to begin the season with a closer-by-committee approach, Jose Valverde is still out there looking for a job.
According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Valverde’s agent, Scott Boras, said today that his client has thrown bullpen sessions for scouts from multiple teams in recent days in his native Dominican Republic and has more planned. Boras declined to say which teams have taken a look at Valverde thus far, but he expects a deal to come together fairly soon once the upcoming workouts are complete.
“Our plan was to wait and see what closer options availed themselves at this time,” Boras said.
After finishing fifth in the AL Cy Young Award balloting in 2011, Valverde averaged a career-low 6.3 K/9 last season and lost his grip on the closer role during the Tigers’ World Series run. The 35-year-old right-hander is open to a one-year deal, but a reunion with Detroit is considered “highly unlikely.”
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.
Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.
Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.
After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”
Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”
As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.