Leyland on closer: 'Whatever it takes to win'

Leyland on closer: 'Whatever it takes to win'

SAN FRANCISCO -- On Thursday, Tigers manager Jim Leyland stood by his evaluation of Jose Valverde's performance from Wednesday's Game 1 loss, saying it wasn't terrible but wasn't good.

It did not sound at all, though, like it brought Valverde anywhere near a closing situation for this series. Leyland did not address Valverde's role specifically, or any names for the ninth inning, but his carefully chosen words sounded like he was moving on with a bullpen by committee.

"We'll figure something out," Leyland said. "You just have to do whatever you think it takes to win the game."

It raises the question of whether Valverde's outing on Wednesday will be his last in a Tigers uniform. He's a free agent at season's end, and his agent, Scott Boras, is expected to market the right-hander aggressively for a closing role somewhere. The Tigers, meanwhile, will have several decisions to make regarding their bullpen.

Leyland was encouraged by Joaquin Benoit's two strikeouts but was never as concerned about him as he was about Valverde.