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Valverde logs second hitless appearance in Minors

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ANAHEIM -- Jose Valverde's second appearance in as many days for Class A Lakeland went almost exactly like his first. He tossed a hitless sixth inning for the Flying Tigers on Saturday, erasing a leadoff walk with a ground-ball double play.

Now the Tigers have to decide on Valverde's next step in his quest to win back a job in their bullpen. The expectation is that Valverde will progress in the farm system and pitch at least a couple of outings for Triple-A Toledo, allowing him to face more veteran hitters and work in some actual save situations.

However, it's possible that the Tigers will move more aggressively and promote Valverde as soon as this week, potentially with a brief stint for the Mud Hens mixed in. The key questions regarding Valverde, such as his velocity and the renewed use of his splitter, seem to have been answered in Lakeland, where reports had his fastball approaching the mid-90s.

Either way, it appears unlikely the Tigers will wait until Valverde's May 8 opt-out date to make a decision.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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