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Valverde has MRI on troublesome elbow

Valverde has MRI on troublesome elbow

DETROIT -- The Tigers don't believe closer Jose Valverde's right elbow issues are going to be a long-term injury. Still, they wanted to make sure, so they had Valverde undergo an MRI on Monday afternoon.

The results showed no serious concerns, manager Jim Leyland said.

Valverde visited with the team physician, Dr. Stephen Lemos. The results should give the Tigers and their closer peace of mind -- even if it doesn't give them any idea when he'll pitch again this season.

As it is, Valverde's last appearance on Sept. 15 at Texas is his only game in two weeks. He threw just two strikes out of 11 pitches that night, and he was unavailable when the Tigers began their weekend series against the White Sox two days later.

Leyland has said for the past few days that he won't pitch Valverde until the closer tells him he feels fine. Valverde has not had the kind of quick recovery he hoped for.

Valverde has a little history with biceps tendinitis, but it goes back to 2005, when it caused him to miss the season's first month. He bounced back and made 61 appearances that year as a setup man for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The domino effect on the Tigers' bullpen without Valverde has been particularly tough. Left-hander Phil Coke has shifted from setup to closer, where he locked down Monday's win over the Royals after struggling Sunday night at Chicago. Daniel Schlereth followed his first Major League save Sunday by striking out the side in Monday's eighth inning.

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