José Valverde may not have saved the Detroit Tigers last season, but that doesn't mean the team doesn't have his back. 

In a surprising move, the Tigers have once again signed their former closer. However, now he won't be playing for the big leagues. 

The Dominican pitcher and his former team have agreed to terms on a minor-league contract.

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski made the announcement before Thursday's game at Minnesota.

Valverde is a three-time All Star who led the AL with 49 saves in 2011 but wasn't as effective in 2012. 

He struggled badly in the postseason, allowing 11 hits, nine runs and two homers over four appearances, recording only eight outs. The 35-year-old became a free agent and wasn't re-signed.

Valverde will report to Detroit's spring training facility in Lakeland, Fla., for some work before being assigned to Triple-A Toledo. Dombrowski said there's no timetable or certainty for Valverde to join the Tigers.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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