BOSTON (AP) Rick Porcello didn’t hesitate when asked to recall memories of pitching in Fenway Park.
In his rookie season, he hit Boston’s Kevin Youkilis in the back with the first pitch of the second inning.
”There it is,” said Porcello, smiling about the question. ”Getting thrown out in the second inning my rookie year. Getting charged by Kevin Youkilis. That was definitely one of them.”
Youkilis charged the mound during the confrontation in 2009, threw his helmet at the right-hander and tackled him. Both were ejected.
Porcello, who turns 26 on Dec. 27, was introduced Friday after the Red Sox acquired him from the Detroit Tigers last week for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and two minor league pitchers.
Porcello had other Fenway memories, too.
During a September start in Boston’s run to the 2013 World Series title, he lasted just five-plus innings, getting tagged for nine runs and seven hits – three homers – during a 20-4 loss. He fared much better last season, going eight solid innings in a victory over the Red Sox.
”For whatever reason, I had a couple of rough starts here and last year I broke through in this ballpark and had a quality start,” he said. ”That was a nice game for me. I had a lot of my family here. I just remember that one for some reason. It’s funny, my first year and my last year were my two most memorable moments I’ve had in this ballpark to this point.”
During his 2013 outing, David Ortiz homered to collect his 1,999th career hit. Ortiz hit No. 2,000 off a reliever two innings later.
”I’m definitely happy that I don’t have to worry about balls sailing over my head off Ortiz’s bat, that’s for sure,” Porcello said. ”It’s going to be a lot of fun. Watching these guys in 2013, when we were competing against them in the playoffs and the fire that they had and everything they had going on in this clubhouse, I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
Porcello is coming off his best season when he went 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA in 32 starts. He was picked up to help bolster Boston’s staff after Jon Lester passed on returning to the Red Sox, signing a $155-millon, six-year deal with the Chicago Cubs.
Porcello will be part of a new rotation after Boston also acquired left-hander Wade Miley from Arizona for Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster and infielder Raymel Flores. The Red Sox also signed free agent right-hander Justin Masterson.
The three likely will join Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz in a rotation that seems without a true No. 1 starter.
”I think you have to have five aces,” Porcello said. ”Each one of us has to have pride in their job.”
Porcello was part of loaded rotation in Detroit last season that included Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, David Price and Anibal Sanchez.
”I think watching each of them go about their business, there’s something you can learn from everybody,” he said. ”Max is a very analytical guy that talks a lot about pitch selection. Justin is a bulldog, a competitor on the mound. You learn a lot watching his competitiveness. There’s definitely things you can learn from everybody.”