Porcello enjoys Motown reunion despite injury
DETROIT -- Rick Porcello has faced his former teammates once since he was traded from the Tigers to the Red Sox last offseason. That outing on July 24 came at Fenway Park.
Porcello was originally scheduled to pitch during this past weekend's series at Comerica Park, but he landed on the 15-day disabled list with right triceps inflammation. Yet returning to his former home -- where Porcello spent the first six years of his Major League career -- was different.
"It feels a little bit weird," Porcello said. "I almost made that left turn in the tunnel [on Friday]. It's good to be back. Obviously, I saw the guys in Boston and whatnot, but it's a different perspective. It's cool.
"It's definitely good to see those guys. When you've played somewhere for a while, you develop relationships with everybody. It's good to see them."
Porcello has had a rough season with the Red Sox. Landing on the DL has added to that stress, as Porcello admitted it feels like the season has "taken a couple years off my life," emotionally and mentally.
There is something to look at positively in that regard, however. Porcello had thrown a light bullpen session on Friday, after which he said he felt "great." And it's possible the right-hander might be ready for a Minor League rehab assignment by the end of the week, according to manager John Farrell.
Being in Detroit gave Porcello something else to think about. It gave him time to catch up with former teammates, reminisce about his time with the Tigers and share stories. But Porcello's favorite memory will always be from 2012, when they swept the Yankees in four games in the American League Championship Series.
"It's pretty hard to beat that," Porcello said with a smile. "Just celebrating on the field and having that feeling that we're going to the World Series is pretty special. That's a pretty good one, that's hard to beat."
Times change and Porcello eventually found himself traded to a team that the Tigers lost to in the 2013 ALCS. Adjusting to a new team for the first time in his career took time. An up-and-down season filled with more downs than ups has made Porcello's first full season with Boston more challenging.
But not all of it has been down. Porcello is an avid fisherman, or an angler to be more precise. During Spring Training in Fort Myers, Fla., with his new team, Porcello found that several players on the Red Sox enjoyed fishing. So after practice, Porcello and his teammates would go out back behind the team's complex where there are a couple of ponds.
Fishing became a common occurrence and an easy way to bond with teammates. While there were several Detroit players who enjoyed fishing -- former Tigers player Daniel Schlereth was one, as was pitching coach Jeff Jones, whom Porcello spent considerable time with when he wanted to fish -- Justin Verlander was not one of them.
"I tried to teach Ver how to fish, but that didn't work out too well," Porcello laughed. "He taught me how to golf, I tried to teach him how to fish. I'm a much better student than he is. [I beat him] maybe like one day out of six years that we played golf. But he's pretty [darn] good."
The story goes that Porcello once took Verlander on a fishing trip in Lakeland, Fla., on to the ponds by a golf course. When asked about that day, Verlander responded: "It did not go well, no. I am not an angler."
And that's all he would say about it.
Despite the setbacks and the struggles, returning to Detroit was more than another trip for Porcello. Teammates, friends and an entire set of memories are there. But with Boston, Porcello has found a new home. And teammates who enjoy fishing as much as he does.