DETROIT — From Class A to closer: Jose Valverde is returning to the Tigers.
Detroit agreed to a one-year contract with Valverde on Tuesday, announcing the move after a game against the Royals was rained out. Valverde was the Tigers' closer the past three years, but the team was prepared to let him leave as a free agent after he faltered during the 2012 postseason.
He never signed elsewhere, and Detroit brought him back on a minor-league deal. The right-hander, 35, pitched three scoreless innings for Class A Lakeland, and now the man they call "Papa Grande" is being called all the way back up to the majors.
"We were not expecting him to throw this well, this quickly," GM Dave Dombrowski said. "He's consistently at 95 (mph), and he's hit 97. He's throwing the splitter, and he's got the break on it that he had a couple years ago."
Manager Jim Leyland said Valverde would close today.
It was a busy day for the Tigers, who put RH reliever Octavio Dotel on the 15-day disabled list and recalled 22-year-old RHP Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo.
DODGERS LOSE STARTER: Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley will have reconstructive elbow surgery this week and miss the rest of the season, the latest in a series of setbacks for the Los Angeles rotation. RHP Zack Greinke (left fractured clavicle) and LHPs Chris Capuano (left calf strain) and Ted Lilly (left shoulder surgery) are also on the DL.
BRAVES STAR SIDELINED: Atlanta RF Jason Heyward was placed on the 15-day DL after an appendectomy. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said there was no set timetable for Heyward's return. The Braves recalled INF Tyler Pastornicky from Triple A.
QUENTIN RETURNS: Padres OF Carlos Quentin returned to the lineup after an eight-game suspension and said he spoke with the Dodgers' Greinke about the scuffle that left the pitcher with a broken left collarbone. "We were able to talk and have a good, productive conversation," Quentin said.
O'S PROSPECT STILL HURTING: RHP Dylan Bundy, the Orioles' prized prospect, wants another opinion on his ailing right arm, this time from noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews. Bundy has been sidelined since developing elbow soreness late in spring training. He felt discomfort while throwing from 90 feet Monday.
JETER UPDATE: Yankees SS Derek Jeter is expected to be in a walking boot when he rejoins his teammates Thursday for the start of a homestand at Yankee Stadium. Jeter found out last Thursday that he fractured the ankle for a second time in six months.
BLUE JAYS: LH reliever Aaron Laffey, who pitched for Toronto last season, was claimed off waivers from the Mets.
MARINERS: OF Franklin Gutierrez went on the DL with a strained right hamstring.
METS: RHP Shaun Marcum, out all season with biceps tendinitis and neck inflammation, was cleared to make his club debut Saturday against the Phillies. … RHP Jonathon Niese was hit in the lower right leg by a hard grounder in the third inning and limped off. X-rays were negative.
PIRATES: 3B Brandon Inge, out all season with an incomplete fracture in his right scapula, was activated off the 15-day DL.