If anyone was expecting Rick Porcello’s eight innings of one-hit ball to earn him a quick return to Detroit, it isn’t happening. Manager Jim Leyland put an end to that speculation before it had a chance to begin.
“He needs to pitch,” Leyland said.
Leyland added that left-hander Andy Oliver will make his next turn in the rotation, which comes up Wednesday afternoon against the Twins in the finale of their three-game series at Target Field.
A double to left field was the lone hit the 21-year-old Porcello allowed in his first Triple-A start. He induced 15 ground-ball outs compared with just six fly balls. Organizational reports said he had a good amount of success with his slider, a huge development for him as a third pitch.
“It was a step in the right direction,” Knapp said of the slider.
The outing drew comparisons to the brief Toledo stint of Max Scherzer, who proved after two starts that he had made the adjustments he needed to be an effective Major League pitcher. Leyland isn’t going to bite on comparisons.
“Porcello needs to pitch,” Leyland reiterated. “I’m not going to talk about Porcello right now. Everybody’s all excited [after] one start. He needs to go down there and pitch and get himself straightened out. I’m not going to get all excited. He needs to go down there and get work in and pitch.
“And I love Rick Porcello, and I think he’s going to be back, and I think he’s going to be a great Major League pitcher. But he’s down in the Minor Leagues right now, and we’re handling issues up here.”