After last night's win, Jim Leyland stated the Big Potato, Papa Grande himself, closer Jose Valverde, is out, and likely won't be back in the near future.
"He's not right," manager Jim Leyland said, "and I'm not going to pitch him. He's off until he tells me he's able to pitch, and he's not able to pitch right now."
Beck speculates it's the recurrence of a tender elbow that has been bothering Valverde recently.
It's been pretty damn obvious Valverde hasn't been right for quite some time. His ERA pre All-Star break was a minuscule 0,92. Post break, it's a scary 6.95. Valverde has only six saves after pitching in the All-Star game, thanks to a combination of the Tigers' falling out of the race and his own ineffectiveness.
Papa Grande was all but throwing batting practice in July and August. He did appear to turn a corner in his most recent September outings. In his last appearance, Valverde did throw a scoreless, hitless inning against the Rangers earlier this week.
Unfortunately, he was Wild with a capital W, only throwing two strikes in 11 pitches. Wildness has been Valverde's M.O. over the past couple of months, making almost every appearance a white-knuckle one.
If the Tigers need to shut down Valverde for the rest of the season to make sure he's ready for 2011, I'm all for it.
Phil Coke has moved into the closer's role while Valverde recovers.
In regard to Guillen, the news is much more dire.
The always on the ball Jason Beck has more:
The Tigers provided some info this morning on Carlos Guillen's knee surgery from yesterday in New York. Guillen underwent what the club called microfracture surgery on the left knee as well as a "surgical clean-up of the degenerative changes" in the knee.
Originally, Guillen was going to be 'scoped. Microfracture surgery is a whole new ballgame.
Several NBA players have had the procedure done over the years, Chris Webber, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tracy McGrady being some of the more notable. In most cases, it took close to a year to recover, and the results of the procedure can vary.
Webber was never the same player after his microfracture surgery. Anyone who saw Webber in his one season with the Pistons remembers just how immobile a player he was post injury. Stoudemire did have a full recovery. But he originally came back too soon and only played in three games the season after the surgery. The Pistons, who recently signed McGrady, will soon find out if he has recovered. McGrady had the surgery in 2009, and has played in only 30 games over the past two seasons.
The Tigers have yet to estimate a return date for Guillen, for good reason. The original thought Guillen would be ready for spring training may be far too optimistic. I wouldn't be counting on Guillen coming back anytime soon, and missing all of next season is a distinct possibility.
The odds either Will Rhymes or Scott Sizemore will be stationed at 2nd base in 2011 has just increased significantly.