Tigers pick Porcello visits team
Admirer of '06 selection Miller sees Detroit before Class A stint
DETROIT -- Rick Porcello's contract included quite a bonus. So did his trip to Comerica Park.
The Tigers had planned on bringing in their top pick from June's First-Year Player Draft on Friday night as soon as he signed his four-year, $7 million deal last week. They weren't thinking of the pitching matchup between Roger Clemens and Andrew Miller when they scheduled it.
Porcello was, soon enough.
"My brothers and I checked the Internet a couple days ago and figured out the rotation for Clemens and Miller," Porcello said. "We're really excited."
It wasn't just about Clemens, though Porcello grew up admiring him with his father, a Yankees fan. It's just as much about Miller.
"I've been watching Andrew Miller since he was at North Carolina," Porcello said. "He's somebody I kind of admired when he was at North Carolina and had a little bit of influence on me committing there. And now, [I'm] seeing him here in Comerica Park."
Porcello turned down the chance to follow in Miller's footsteps at UNC to follow Miller to the Tigers. Once he arrived in Detroit on Friday morning, Porcello had the chance to follow his game, though he had to wait through a rain delay to do it.
Following Miller to the Majors is a different matter, one that will take a little longer. After his visit this weekend, Porcello is scheduled to travel from here to the Tigers' short-season Class A team in Oneonta, N.Y., to begin a throwing program. He isn't expected to appear in any games there; the goal is to have him ready to pitch in the Fall Instructional League in Florida.
After Porcello took the summer off of pitching, limiting himself to general workouts, getting back on the mound anywhere is going to feel good for him.
"It's definitely nice to know what I'm going to be doing in a couple days instead of waiting around, trying to figure out what's going to happen [with the contract]," Porcello said. "Until we started talking to the Tigers, I was committed to North Carolina."
Until the Tigers took a chance on drafting Porcello with the 27th overall selection, knowing the risk of not signing him, Porcello didn't know much about the club. He had never been to Detroit, and he only started watchnig teh games in the weeks leading up to the Draft once he realized the Tigers had interest in him.
His father, Fred Porcello, took an interest, too. The more they watched, the more he liked what they saw.
"We've been seeing all the games and all the other broadcasts," the elder Porcello said. "It really has been a learning experience for me, because, frankly, I didn't really watch closely before this year. But I have been watching closely since before June."
His reaction was much like that of his son.
"Thrilled," he said. "I think it's a great fit. I think that in the months to come, everyone will see that. I think that Rick will fit in with the young pitching staff, whatever [length of time] it takes. I don't think the Tigers will put a clock on it, and I don't think Rick has one. I think whatever he has to do, he's willing to do -- if it takes two years, three years, whatever the timeframe is.
"I like the fact that the Tigers put confidence in their younger players. They've got certainly plenty of veteran players, too, but I like the fact that there's an infusion of youth. And frankly, I think it's fun to watch."
Even for a Yankees fan. How big of a Bronx Bombers follower is he?
"Not big enough to keep me from going to these games," he said with a laugh. "I have to admit I'm a turncoat."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.