Tigers exercise 2012 option on Valverde

The Detroit Tigers have exercised the 2012 contract option on closer Jose Valverde, who led the American League with 49 saves during the 2011 season.

Valverde was perfect in each of his save opportunities this season, becoming just the third pitcher to convert each of his save chances while posting at least 40 saves. Eric Gagne of the Los Angeles Dodgers converted all 55 of his opportunities in 2003 and Brad Lidge was perfect on 41 chances for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008.

The right-hander easily surpassed the Detroit record for saves in a season this year, eclipsing Todd Jones' mark of 42 in 2000. He also posted a record of 2-4 with a 2.24 earned run average and 69 strikeouts in 75 appearances.

Valverde has been selected to the American League All-Star team in each of his two seasons with the Tigers. He has a mark of 4-8 with a 2.59 ERA and 75 saves in 135 games over two seasons in Detroit.

Before joining the Tigers, Valverde also pitched for Arizona from 2003-07 and for Houston from 2008-09. He owns 242 career saves and a 3.02 ERA in 514 big league games.