Wrist pain keeps Valverde from closing out win
Initial diagnosis is sore right wrist; Coke fills in to notch save
DETROIT -- Closer Jose Valverde threw an estimated 10-15 pitches as he warmed up in the bullpen and prepared to secure the Tigers' 6-3 win against the Cardinals in the ninth inning. Then he felt pain in his right wrist and had to sit down.
"I'm almost ready for the game, and the last pitch I throw, I notice my wrist started getting sore, tight," Valverde said. "I had to stop [and] tell them what's going on, because I don't want to be out for too long if it's something serious."
Valverde never made it out for the ninth and instead went to visit the team doctors, where he underwent an X-ray on the wrist. The preliminary diagnosis is a sore right wrist, and Valverde said the doctors told him that "it's not too bad."
However, as he was being called away from the media for an MRI, the Tigers' closer admitted he was still nervous.
"Yeah, I'm nervous," said Valverde, who has never had a problem with the wrist before. "I don't know what's going on. I think anybody would be nervous."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he wouldn't have any additional information until after he gets the results of the MRI and the report from the doctors. Those will likely come prior to Wednesday's game.
"I just got back there with the doctors checking him out, and obviously there'll be some testing," Leyland said. "But I don't really have any idea.
Valverde is 3-2 on the year with a 4.18 ERA and 13 saves. With Valverde out, Phil Coke was called upon to preserve the three-run lead. Coke said he saw Valverde drop his glove and sit down, but thought nothing of it.
"If he's up throwing for a little while or [Joaquin] Benoit or somebody in front of him is having a slightly longer inning or the starter's still in the game, he'll throw until he's done getting ready, because he knows himself," Coke said. "When he sat down, I thought that's what was going on, and then the phone rang and they started shouting."
The left-hander took advantage of the opportunity by recording his first save of the year with a 1-2-3 inning. Having warmed up earlier in the game, he said it helped not having to start from scratch in his rush to get ready.
"It was a little boost of adrenaline there real quick, because I knew I had to get ready quickly so I did," Coke said. "I had been up throwing earlier when [Justin Verlander] was in the seventh inning, and I was able to get some reps in off the mound and get some blood moving through the body. That probably played in my favor a bit."
Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.