Valverde to skip Classic due to personal issue

Valverde to skip Classic due to personal issue

Pitching for his native Dominican Republic in this month's World Baseball Classic could have provided Jose Valverde a chance to cleanse the sour taste left in his mouth from a shaky postseason. That opportunity has vanished.

Valverde, who is a Major League free agent, will not pitch in the Classic because of a personal issue, the Dominican team announced on Friday. Right-hander Lorenzo Barcelo will take Valverde's roster spot.

Two years ago, Valverde enjoyed a flawless regular season for the Tigers, as he converted all 49 of his save opportunities while also earning his second consecutive All-Star Game nod. In 2012, his ERA jumped to 3.78 from 2.24, and he pitched just four times in the postseason, allowing nine runs in 2 2/3 innings, for a 30.38 ERA.

In the Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, Valverde surrendered four runs to the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth to erase a 4-0 Tigers lead. He didn't pitch again until Game 1 of the World Series in San Francisco, when he allowed four hits in one-third of an inning in mop-up duty.

Detroit opted to part ways with the 34-year-old following the season, and Valverde has yet to latch on with a big league team.

The three-time All-Star has tallied 44 or more saves on three occasions, and he owns a 3.11 ERA across 10 seasons.

The Dominican Republic plays its first Classic game on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. ET against Venezuela.

Zack Meisel is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.