LAKELAND, Fla. -- Rick Porcello was never a teammate of Kenny Rogers. Effectively, Porcello crashed the Tigers rotation in 2009 by filling the spot left open by Rogers when he retired after the 2008 season.
There's no point of reference for Porcello, who was still in high school when Rogers was helping pitch the Tigers to the World Series in 2006. And yet, there's instant respect.
When Rogers rolled into Tigers camp on Friday afternoon, one of the longest conversations he had was with Porcello. They talked about pitching, about pitchers fielding their position, about holding baserunners.
Rogers was in uniform when the Tigers' full squad worked out on Saturday morning. Afterward, he and Porcello talked again.
"You just want to talk to him and pick his brain about pitching," Porcello said. "He'd been around for so long. The other great thing that he does is field his position very well, and that's another thing I've been trying to get a little bit better at, being a ground-ball pitcher. Why not learn from one of the best?"