Jose Valverde had no doubt he would be pitching somewhere in the majors this year. He just didn't know where.

Turns out, it's back with Detroit — or at least, the Detroit system.

Valverde arrived in Lakeland at the Tigers spring training facility Tuesday after some passport problems and made his first appearance on the mound Wednesday morning. He threw about 50 pitches and said he felt fine.

"I was throwing pretty hard," Valverde said of Wednesday's session. "I am mostly working on my control. I am just working on being ready."

He said he felt in great shape and will pitching Friday in an extended spring training game against a team from the Atlanta Braves. The Tigers say he'll also throw in a scrimmage Monday.

Single A Connecticut manager Andrew Graham is supervising Valverde's workouts for the time being.

"He passed his physical," Graham said. "He threw the ball well."

Valverde was signed by the Tigers to a minor league contract after serving as the closer the past three years — three mostly good years, with the exception of an awful 2012 postseason.

After twice leading the National Leagues in saves and once the American League, Valverde is trying to prove he still has major league stuff. And the Tigers, who are without a closer at the moment, were happy to take a look.

Valverde said he wasn't surprised to end up with the Tigers, but also wasn't surprised when he and the Tigers parted ways after last year's World Series. He said he had no hard feeling toward the Tigers.

He saved 110 games during his three years with the Tigers, including 49 in 2011. Last season, Valverde saved 35 with a 3.78 ERA, but struggled mightily in the postseason (nine runs, 2.2 innings).

Valverde believes he pitched well late in the season, but just had a few bad outings.

"I had a good year (in 2012)," he said. "I just had trouble in the postseason. I did my job. I was tired at the end of the year. I pitched a lot of innings."