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TIGERS: Closer Jose Valverde denied throwing a spitball in the ninth inning of Sunday night’s 7-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

An internet video showed Valverde putting his glove, with the ball in it, to his mouth before delivering a 1-2 pitch to Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco. Mesoraco swung and missed at the 94-mph fastball.

ESPN.com said Major League Baseball has reviewed video and has discussed the incident with the Tigers, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Valverde said he has not been contacted by Major League Baseball.

BRAVES: Cory Gearrin, who gave up Nick Swisher’s tie-breaking, two-run homer in the Braves’ 6-4 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night, has been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.

The 26-year-old right-hander was with Atlanta only two days. Gearrin, recalled from Gwinnett on Monday, appeared in two games and was charged with only one run in Tuesday night’s loss.

CARDINALS: Pitcher Chris Carpenter took a step forward in rehabbing a shoulder injury that has sidelined him all season, throwing off a mound for the first time.

The 2005 NL Cy Young winner threw 26 pitches Wednesday several hours before the Cardinals played the Chicago White Sox. He’s scheduled to throw again Friday.


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