Jose Valverde (wrist) could be ready to pitch Sunday

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Tigers closer Jose Valverde hasn’t appeared in a game since last Friday due to a sprained right wrist.

But he’s just about back to 100 percent health.

According to Chris Iott of Detroit’s MLive.com, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Saturday that Valverde is a “possibility” but “not a sure thing” for Sunday’s series-finale against the Pirates.

Phil Coke and Joaquin Benoit have been tasked with handling ninth-inning duties in his absence.

Valverde, 34, has a 4.18 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 28 innings this season. He’s 13-for-16 in save chances.

Angels name Brad Ausmus new manager

Brad Ausmus
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Former MLB player and manager Brad Ausmus will manage the Angels in 2019, the team announced Sunday. While no contract terms have been revealed, a formal press conference will be held on Monday at 1:00 PM PDT to introduce the new skipper.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler gave a statement following Ausmus’ hiring:

Ausmus, 49, was also considered for a managerial role with the Reds prior to their hiring of David Bell on Sunday. He’ll replace longtime manager Mike Scioscia, who finished his 19th and final campaign with the club on the last day of the 2018 season.

A former catcher and three-time Gold Glove Award winner, Ausmus capped his 18-year MLB playing career in 2010. He managed the Tigers from 2014 to 2017, during which he guided the club to a 314-332 record and a postseason berth in 2014. After the Tigers declined to offer the skipper an extension in 2018, he was hired as a special assistant to the Angels’ general manager, and remained in that role for the duration of the regular season.