The Detroit Tigers purchased the contract of pitcher Jose Valverde from Lakeland of the Florida State League Wednesday, paving the way for the veteran reliever to return to his role as the club's primary closer.
Valverde agreed to a major league contract Wednesday with the organization that opted not to re-sign him in the offseason following a dismal performance in the playoffs.
The 35-year-old right-hander saved 110 games for the Tigers over the past three seasons, including 35 during the 2012 regular season, but gave up nine runs and 11 hits in four postseason appearances.
Valverde, who has 277 career saves over 10 seasons with Arizona, Houston and Detroit, struck out four and walked two while allowing just one hit over three innings of work at Lakeland in three games played.
Detroit designated pitcher Duane Below for assignment to make room for Valverde on the 40-man roster. Below has yet to appear in a game for the Tigers this season.