JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Rick Porcello’s bid to be part of the Detroit Tigers’ rotation includes a 3.00 ERA and no walks in 24 spring innings.
That’s right, no walks.
In Porcello’s latest spring outing, Miguel Cabrera had an RBI double and Jhonny Peralta homered to highlight a three-run first inning that helped send the Tigers to a 6-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Monday.
Porcello allowed three runs and four hits in six innings. He struck out three and gave up a solo home run to Rob Brantly.
“It’s definitely a good sign, to stay inside the strike zone,” said Porcello, who could make a final preseason start during the weekend. “You want to throw quality and effective strikes, not just throw strikes.”
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he was “95 percent sure” on how the Tigers will be comprised for opening day, though who would be the No. 5 starter remained uncertain. Porcello and left-hander Drew Smyly have been vying for the spot.
“On my end, I’m ready to go and prepared for the season,” Porcello said. “I definitely feel like I’m in a strong position to start the year, and I feel strong.”
Leyland remained non-committal about Porcello’s status.
“He looked good. He’s had a good spring,” Leyland said. “He’s throwing the ball very well.”
Mentioned in recent trade rumors, Porcello does not plan to throw many sliders wherever he spends the season.
“I’m continuing to work on one breaking ball and establish that,” he said. “I wouldn’t say the slider is in the trash, but like I said, I’m just focusing on one breaking ball.”
Leyland said removing the slider from the repertoire did not necessarily reduce Porcello to three-pitches — fastball, changeup, curve.
“A lot of guys count a two-seam and four-seam as one fastball, but that’s two fastballs,” Leyland said. “It depends on how you want to look on it. Does that make him a four-pitch pitcher?”
Cabrera had two hits and scored twice against his former team.
Marlins starter Wade LeBlanc gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings. He walked one, struck out four and threw 86 pitches.
LeBlanc retired Detroit in order in the second after facing eight batters in the first.
“I was kind of out of whack mechanically in that first inning, then settled back in,” LeBlanc said. “The last two innings felt great, more normal, kind of mid-season.”
The Marlins pulled within 3-2 in the second on Justin Ruggiano’s RBI single and Adeiny Hechavarria’s triple.
Singles by Cabrera, Matt Tuiasosopo and Alex Avila in the third gave Detroit a 4-2 lead
NOTES: The Tigers worked out a trade with Tampa Bay for Rule 5 draftee LHP Kyle Lobstein. They sent C Curt Casali to the Rays. Lobstein was outrighted to Double-A Erie. … Miami 2B Donovan Solano (back tightness) took swings in the batting cage. Manager Mike Redmond was hopeful the second baseman would return this week. … The Marlins signed C Koyie Hill to a minor-league contract. He was not in big-league camp. … Placido Polanco went 1 for 3 while being the latest Marlins player to bat fourth, behind Giancarlo Stanton.