Patrick Leyland, son of Tigers manager Jim Leyland, was on hand for the first two games of the weekend series against the Pittsburgh Pirates -- the team his father managed for eleven years.
Patrick returned home to Pittsburgh on Sunday morning to participate in a high school all-star game. After the game, the 18-year-old catcher is expected to meet with the Tigers and possibly hash out a contract. Detroit selected the catcher from Bishop Canevin High School in Round 8 (No. 253 overall) of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
Leyland didn't say whether his son would sign or not, but he said the decision should be pretty cut and dry. It comes down to whether or not his son wants to kick off his professional career now, or play college ball.
"He's got to make a decision whether he wants to go play now," Leyland said. "He's going to play, whether he plays professionally or in college. It's just a matter of what he wants to do. I know he wants to [play professionally] at some point. Is it now? I think it is. But we'll see."
From what the skipper has heard, the organization is seriously interested in his son, and not just because of his bloodlines. Patrick won't hire an agent to negotiate his contract and his father hopes that if he decides to sign, he gets it done quickly.
"Guys waste two or two and a half months, and that doesn't make sense to me," Leyland said. "You've been waiting all your life to be a professional ballplayer, then all of a sudden on June 10 you are a professional ballplayer and you don't play until September or the next year. What kind of sense does that make?"
Valverde consistently slams the door
DETROIT -- The streak is over for Jose Valverde. The Tigers closer hadn't allowed a run in his previous 25 outings entering Sunday and owned an American League leading 0.34 ERA.
Valverde entered Sunday's game in the ninth inning with a two-run cushion after Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera's three-homer in the eighth inning. But he gave up a leadoff double to Ryan Doumit, who eventually came around to score end Valverde's scoreless streak.
Fortunately, the run didn't cost the Tigers the game. Instead, Valverde earned his 13th save of the season, good for eighth in the AL.
"They finally broke his scoreless streak, but that's alright," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's been absolutely fantastic. Up to this point, he's been one of the better ones in baseball."
Leyland has called upon Valverde late in the game, when Detroit simply needs to get through an inning unscathed. Such was the case in Saturday's 4-3 win, when he entered the game in the ninth inning and completely overpowered the Pirates' batters, striking out all three he faced.
"Any team that wants to win, you have to be able to have a guy that comes in at the end of the game and just shuts the door," starting pitcher Justin Verlander said. "He's been able to do that pretty much each and every time he's been asked. Even in situations where he's not asked to get a save, he still comes in and just shuts the door."
Although Valverde surrendered a run on Sunday, the Tigers still have the utmost confidence in their closer.
"You can't get by without a great closer," outfielder Johnny Damon said. "He seems to be one of the best out there. I've been on teams where they've had closer-by-committee, and that doesn't work. He wants the ball. He wants to go out there and pitch. That's great.
"He's a guy that can put [hitters] in a funk and start making you think a bunch of negative things up at the plate."
Ordonez, Guillen get extra rest
DETROIT -- Because the Tigers have Monday off, manager Jim Leyland was cautious with two of his big sluggers in Sunday's matinee against the Pirates. The skipper held second baseman Carlos Guillen and outfielder Magglio Ordonez out of the starting lineup, hoping to give them back-to-back days off.
But Guillen entered the game in the ninth inning to pinch-hit for rookie Danny Worth with the Tigers trailing by a run. He led off the inning with a base hit to shallow right field and came around to score on a three-run homer by Miguel Cabrera.
"Carlos got the big pinch-hit there to start the inning for us," Leyland said. "That helped. We were able to take advantage"
Guillen was out of the starting lineup on Sunday because of cramping in his right calf he experienced for the duration of Saturday's game. But it didn't stop him from slugging a walk-off home run in the 10th inning to propel the Tigers to a 4-3 win.
Ordonez sat for the sixth straight game with soreness in his right oblique. Ordonez said he was feeling much better on Sunday, but Leyland opted to give him an extra day to recover from the pesky injury. Ordonez took full batting practice on Sunday and expects to play on Tuesday, when the Tigers open a three-game set against the Nationals.
"I don't know positively, but I'm going to say that Magglio will play Tuesday," Leyland said. "I can't swear to that, but I think he will."
Alex DiFilippo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.