As he has hundreds of times during his 11-year career, Jose Valverde got the call to warm up.

He went through his usual ritual of taking three sips of water and spewing it out in three directions before throwing.

Only this time, instead of warming up for an appearance in a major league game, Valverde was being called upon by the Triple A Toledo Mud Hens.

Valverde, cast out from the Tigers bullpen and designated for assignment to Toledo on June 21, is making a pitch to return to the Detroit this season.

And for Valverde, 35, there’s no doubt in his mind he still has a few years left in his career. Inspired by the game’s great closers, he’s looking to hone his mechanics in Toledo, which has been something of a rejuvenator in recent years for Tigers pitchers to tinker with their stuff.

“I’m 35 years old; Mariano (Rivera) is 42 — Billy Wagner was how old when he retired? Trevor Hoffman, all these guys,” Valverde said. “I feel like my career’s not over yet — that’s why I’m here.”

In a non-save situation last week, Valverde faced three batters, striking out one in a 7-0 victory over the Columbus Clippers. In a weekend series against the Indianapolis Indians, he notched two saves and two strikeouts, allowing two hits in two appearances.

“He’s healthy and he’s tinkering,” Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. “The velocity is not quite where it’s been in the past, but he can still throw it 94-95 mph, so he can definitely get outs with that.”

But Valverde’s best pitch, the split-finger fastball, was less than daunting during his 20-game stint in Detroit, which prompted the most recent comeback attempt with the Mud Hens.

“I’m here because I want to work more on my split-finger,” Valverde said. “When I’m pitching in the big leagues, nobody touched my fastball; everybody touched my split-finger.”