Jose Valverde Injury: Tigers Closer Leaves Game In 9th With 'Lower Back Tightness'

May 13, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jose Valverde (46) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. The Tigers defeated the Athletics 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde left Tuesday's game in the ninth inning with lower back tightness.

The bullpen situation in Detroit just got a whole lot messier. Tigers closer Jose Valverde entered Tuesday's game in a non-save situation needing just three outs to preserve a Detroit victory, but could only manage two before grimacing in pain and leaving the game with reported lower back tightness according to Fox Sports Detroit.

Without Valverde in to close the door, the Tigers gave the ball to reliever Octavio Dotel, who promptly gave up a pair of runs before he could even record an out. Dotel not only nearly blew the game in the process, but sucked even more wind from the sails of Tigers fans brave enough to wonder what life without Valverde might be like.

If Valverde is forced to miss even a brief amount of time, it's expected that set-up man Joaquin Benoit will assume the closer role in full. But even that scenario would leave a significant hole in the 7th and 8th innings, which could force Tigers starters to pitch deeper into games and tax the most essential part of organization's pitching staff. For now, though, it's expected that Valverde is day-to-day, but be sure to stay with SB Nation Detroit for more updates as news becomes available.

For more on the Tigers, head over to Bless You Boys.

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