04/16/08 7:36 PM ET
Valverde puts transgression behind him
Closer glad to have support of teammates following blown save
By Andy Jasner / Special to MLB.com
One of the Astros already in full pregame preparation was none other than closer Jose Valverde, who was watching video. It wasn't exactly the most pleasant video to view considering he gave up four runs in a difficult ninth inning in which the Phillies rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win, 4-3, on Tuesday.
Valverde was denied a chance for his 100th career save. Still stuck on 99, Valverde will eventually become the 21st active pitcher in Major League Baseball to reach 100 or more saves.
This chance can't come soon enough for Cooper.
"We've got to get him on the horse as soon as the situation presents itself," Cooper said. "It might be [Wednesday] or hopefully [Thursday]."
Cooper made a point to talk to Valverde after the tough loss and again at the ballpark while the two watched video of his pitching mechanics.
"He's the man," Cooper said. "That's all you can tell him. He's the guy. I have a lot of confidence in him. I just told him, as soon as an opportunity presents itself, you'll get back out there. He's got some things to make adjustments on."
"There are some mechanical issues I don't want to go into," Cooper said. "He has to work on his splitter a little bit. He didn't have the same type of movement we're used to seeing. His fastball command has been good. I'm not really concerned about that."
Valverde said after the loss that he was appreciative of the support of his teammates.
"It's very good," Valverde said. "They believe in me."
Valverde led the Majors with 47 saves in 54 opportunities with the Diamondbacks last season. With the trade of Brad Lidge to the Phillies, a closer's role opened up and the Astros acquired the hard-throwing right-hander to secure the back end of the bullpen.
After six games, Valverde is 2-1 with an 11.37 ERA, one save and two other blown chances.
Despite watching with a different perspective, Lidge could certainly empathize.
"It's tough," Lidge said. "The rest of that day, you feel like a bum and then the next day you come in. The best part of our job is that we have another chance to come in and redeem ourselves that night. You have to remember that. When you wake up the next morning, you have to be fresh and ready to go."
Cooper believes that Valverde is ready to go.
"I know he wants to be here and we all want him here," Cooper said. "We'll just give him every opportunity. When the situation presents itself, we'll get him right back out there."
Andy Jasner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.