Rick Porcello turned in a very sharp spring debut last week. Outing No. 2? Not nearly as successful.
Porcello gave up three runs in his two innings of work, all of them crossing the plate off a home run by Atlanta’s Juan Francisco in the top of the first. Jordan Schafer led off the game with a single, then Porcello hit Reed Johnson. Three batters later, with two outs and two on, Francisco drilled one out of Joker Marchant Stadium.
Porcello came back with a scoreless second inning, then gave way to Tigers’ Rule 5 pick Kyle Lobstein in the third.
That showing is a marked step back from Porcello’s first appearance, in which he threw two perfect innings against this same Atlanta team. Through his four innings of work this spring, Porcello has four strikeouts (two each game) and no walks.
The Tigers reportedly have had conversations about Porcello with multiple teams, though they have maintained that he and Drew Smyly are in competition for the rotation’s No. 5 role. It’s hard to say exactly what Porcello’s trade value would be right now, though it should rise as the season approaches.
Something else to consider here: Max Scherzer will not make his first spring appearance until Sunday — the Tigers opted to give him an extra week-plus of rest after the extended 2012 season, one that included Scherzer dealing with a deltoid injury. There’s no indication that Scherzer is less than 100 percent, but the Tigers might be wise to stay cautious anyway.