MLB

Former saves leader Jose Valverde suspended 80 games for PED use

March 31, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jose Valverde (47) reacts as he strikes out Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (not pictured) with the bases loaded to end the 7th inning of an opening day baseball game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

March 31, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jose Valverde (47) reacts as he strikes out Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (not pictured) with the bases loaded to end the 7th inning of an opening day baseball game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Veteran reliever Jose Valverde, released by the Washington Nationals last month, received an 80-game suspension Friday for violating Major League Baseball's policy on performance enhancing drugs.

The 37-year-old Valverde, who did not appear in the majors this season, was punished for testing positive for the banned substance Stanozolol.

Valverde was among the best relievers in baseball with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers. He led the league in saves three times in a span of five years (2007-11), including a career-high 49 in 2011 with Detroit.

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His last solid season came in 2012, when he registered 35 saves for the Tigers, but he struggled over the following two seasons. Valverde signed a minor league deal contract with Washington in April after opting out of a similar deal with San Diego. He was released by the Nationals on July 22.

Valverde amassed 288 career saves while posting a 27-33 record and 3.27 ERA over 12 seasons with four clubs.