Valverde nears return to action

Valverde nears return to action

NEW YORK -- The Tigers were optimistic that they would have Jose Valverde available Monday night against the Yankees, if they could get a save situation for him.

"We're hoping he's going to be OK," manager Jim Leyland said Monday afternoon. "We got a pretty good report today."

Valverde missed the entire weekend series against the White Sox with a deep abdominal strain on his right side. He said Monday afternoon he felt a lot better, though he couldn't say for sure if he would be ready until he went out to play catch.

"I want to be ready to play," Valverde said.

Phil Coke closed out back-to-back wins Saturday and Sunday in Valverde's absence. Leyland said Coke would "hopefully" be available Monday as well. It would mean potentially three straight days of work, but Leyland pointed out that his pitch count Sunday was relatively low.

Heavy bullpen use over the weekend and Valverde's situation prompted Detroit to call up Daniel Schlereth from Triple-A Toledo as an extra reliever.