Rick Porcello was deprived of bus rides from Erie and nights out in Toledo on his way up to the majors, but he'll get a chance to finally see the minor league sights after being sent down Sunday by the Tigers.
The right-hander, Detroit's top pick in the 2007 draft, skipped the Double-A and Triple-A levels and played in the majors in 2009, starting 31 games and going 14-9 with a 3.96 ERA. He finished third in voting for the American League Rookie of the Year. But Porcello's second major league season hasn't gone nearly as smoothly, and he stands at 4-7 with a 6.14 ERA, earning a trip to Triple-A Toledo.
"We think it’s the best thing for him," Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told reporters.
Procello was skipped in the rotation before returning to the mound Saturday, when he gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Diamondbacks.
The issues for Porcello seems to be his sinker, which isn't sinking, and trouble locating his slider. He's been going to his fastball when he struggles, and hitters are expecting it.
Porcello, whose stay in the minors is open-ended, is set to start for the Mud Hens on Thursday. Who will replace him in the rotation? The Tigers are still talking about it, but the Detroit Free Press says Enrique Gonzalez, a Toledo starter recently called up and used in relief, is a possibility.
The Tigers stand 1 1/2 games out in the AL Central, and if they think Porcello's troubles won't have a quick fix, they might need to put themselves on the market for a starter.
-- David Andriesen
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