The Start of an era

Rick Porcello will make his professional debut Thursday night in Tampa
against the Yankees’ affiliate in the Class-A Florida State League. The Tigers’
top pick in last year’s draft and easily one of the most talked about Minor
Leaguers this spring doesn’t seem fazed at all about stepping onto the mound at
George Steinbrenner Field (formerly Legends Field). He might as well be back on
the hill for Seton Hall Prep up in the frigid temperatures of North Jersey based
on what he’s showing.
I got the chance to sit with Porcello for a few minutes yesterday afternoon out
in Lakeland – which by the way is even more of a ghost town now that Spring
Training has ended. When asked if he was nervous, he didn’t flinch.
“I’m more excited than nervous and I’m anxious to get the season started,”
Porcello said.
He admitted to being a tad star struck when he first arrived in the Detroit
clubhouse earlier this spring but that awe quickly disappeared as he began to
realize that Justin Verlander and Co. were now his co-workers and not just the
players he’d been watching on television.
“The first couple of days it was tough to focus,” he said. “You watch those
players for so long but you get used to it after a while. You adjust to it.
Big-league camp was a great experience. I learned a lot from being in the same
clubhouse with those guys. It was tough at the time to come back down.
“The days are long and you’re in the sun all day. But it’s good preparation
for the season and I’m ready to go.” 
Porcello’s dad, Fred, will be in Tampa Thursday night to watch his son’s
professional debut. 
I also got the chance to speak with Cale Iorg, the highly regarded
prospected Detroit grabbed in the sixth-round last season. He’s Garth Iorg’s son
and Dane Iorg’s nephew and his brother Eli is playing in the Astros farm system.
Cale is a bright, friendly kid who will start his first season in pro ball
Thursday night alongside Porcello. I’ll have a feature about him up on the
website next week.
Here, though, is a bit of info from my conversation. I like to ask players
oddball questions so
we don’t spend 20 minutes discussing only baseball. When I
asked Iorg which person from
George Washington 1782 painting.jpg history with whom he’d like to have dinner, his
answer surprised me. I get a lot of stock answers to that question and most
players usually just rattle off the names of former ballplayers but he said
George Washington.
“I’m a big fan of George Washington’s,” Iorg said. “He was an amazing man
to lead a new country into it’s biggest battles. Just the way he lived and
worked. All he wanted to do was help out. He didn’t want to lead. He just wanted
to serve.” 
Interesting, huh? Anyway, Iorg’s dad won’t be on hand for his pro debut
because he’s a roving instructor with the Brewers. But, he’ll be in Brevard
County in two weeks working with Milwaukee prospects and he’ll get to see his
son then. — Kevin C.

1 Comment

How much more does Garcia have to do to get a call up? It would be great to have a left hander either starting, which I think he could do, or in the bull pen where we really only have one left hander and that is Flores because there is no way the Cards can rely on Villone any more. He is dead weight who should be released to make room for someone else. Garcia would be an exciting choice and I believe he would help the Cards right away.

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