The Tigers are keeping an eye on Jose Valverde’s progress in extended spring training in Lakeland.
President and general manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters in Seattle that the current plan is for Valverde to pitch in an extended spring game Wednesday and then again Friday and Saturday for Single-A Lakeland, as long as Valverde continues to feel good.
Although they would have liked to have had Valverde in Toledo already, they opted against it because of the weather.
“At this point, we’re not just going to leave him in Lakeland and make a decision,” Dombrowski told MLive.com. “Our plans are to move him up, but the weather’s been so bad. We don’t want him to go join the Toledo club and all of a sudden be sitting there for three or four days and he’s not pitching because of the weather. Our decision at this point is weather-driven strictly.”
On Monday in a scrimmage with the Canadian junior national team, Valverde threw two scoreless innings without giving up a hit or a walk.
Tigers director of player development Dave Owen told the Toledo Blade’s John Wagner that the reports on Valverde have been promising so far.
“He’s been in the strike zone and around the strike zone,” Owen told Wagner. “His velocity has been good — in the low- to mid-90s — and the split- [finger fastball] is coming out of his hand well. The early indications are that he looks pretty good.”
Because Valverde’s arrival in Lakeland was delayed due to passport problems, the Tigers don’t have to make a decision on him until May 8, instead of May 5.