Free agent Valverde to pitch for DR in Classic

Free agent Valverde to pitch for DR in Classic

Jose Valverde may still be waiting for an offer from a Major League team for the upcoming season, but in the meantime, he will pitch for the Dominican Republic in next month's World Baseball Classic.

According to a tweet from the official Dominican team's Twitter account on Tuesday, Valverde will represent his native country for the upcoming tournament.

The free-agent closer will join a bullpen that includes Fernando Rodney, Octavio Dotel, Joel Peralta and Santiago Casilla, among others.

Dotel could be one of the relievers called upon in Detroit for some save chances this season in Valverde's absence. The 34-year-old Valverde converted 35 saves for the Tigers last season, but posted an unfavorable 3.78 ERA and fell apart in the postseason.

The demonstrative closer allowed nine earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings over four combined postseason appearances.

Valverde's struggles led to teammate Phil Coke assuming the team's closer role during the American League Championship Series.

Despite converting 110 of 118 saves during his three years with the Tigers, including all 49 opportunities in 2011, Detroit elected not to re-sign the three-time All-Star this offseason.

For his career, Valverde has 277 saves to go along with a 3.11 ERA over 10 seasons with three teams.

Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.