PORT ST. LUCIE, N.Y. -- Rick Porcello tried to treat Wednesday's Grapefruit League start against the Mets like any other day. But there was one humorous moment during Boston's 8-7 loss when he couldn't help but admit it felt a little different.As Porcello warmed up for the bottom of the third
PORT ST. LUCIE, N.Y. -- Rick Porcello tried to treat Wednesday's Grapefruit League start against the Mets like any other day. But there was one humorous moment during Boston's 8-7 loss when he couldn't help but admit it felt a little different.
As Porcello warmed up for the bottom of the third inning, Tim Tebow was watching him from the Red Sox's on-deck circle.
Mets manager Terry Collins quickly ran out to tell Tebow that wasn't allowed.
"I didn't know who that was," said Porcello. "I thought it was a ballboy. It didn't bother me."
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Facing the former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, Porcello, last year's American League Cy Young Award winner, struck out Tebow on four pitches to open the inning.
The last pitch was a nasty sinker on the black of the outside corner that froze Tebow, who was facing Major League competition for the first time.
"I don't know anything about him, so I do what I do against all guys I've never faced before: attack with my fastball until they show they can hit it," said Porcello.
Porcello gave up five hits and four runs over three-plus innings, walking one and striking out four. He also had one brief scare during his performance when a hard grounder off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes struck him on the thumb of his pitching hand.
"It happens quickly, so immediately I'm just trying to get the sting out of it," Porcello said. "I was able to throw a couple pitches, and the second warmup pitch I was able to get it down in the zone. There wasn't anything I felt was going to affect me making pitches."
Manager John Farrell and a trainer came out to check on the right-hander. Porcello told them he was fine. But when Jay Bruce stepped up next and belted a two-run homer to right and Lucas Duda followed with a double, Porcello was taken out of the game.
"Everything prior to the comebacker, he was pitching as we'd seen so many times," said Farrell. "I thought he had good command, good stuff, I thought a better curveball today than even his last time out, so things were going along as we had hoped, planned and anticipated. After the glancing ball off his thumb it was clear his day needed to be done."
The Red Sox are confident Porcello will be able to make his next start.
"After he iced it, I think his grip strength had returned to full strength," said Farrell. "Everything seems to be fine. If he comes in in the morning and we need to check it, we would then take every precaution."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.