JUPITER, Fla. -- Even amidst a remarkable spring -- command-wise, at least -- Rick Porcello is finding things to fine-tune.
The right-hander, competing as the incumbent for Detroit's fifth starter spot this season, has now gone all six outings without walking a batter following Monday's start in a 6-3 win over the Marlins. That spans 24 innings for a pitcher who has averaged 2.3 walks per game over his four-year big league career.
"It's definitely a good sign -- staying inside the strike zone," Porcello said after earning his fourth win of the Grapefruit League season. "You want to throw quality and effective strikes, not just throw strikes. But the command's been pretty good as far as walks."
There have been reports and rumors about Porcello being possible trade bait as the Tigers look to solidify their closer situation before Opening Day. Whether he pitches this year for Detroit or another club, it's shaping up to be one of Porcello's best springs.
"When you have the combination of what he's done this year -- worked on his breaking ball, which has been much more successful for him in the spring -- I think it helps you with a little something," manager Jim Leyland said. "It's not the season, but it gives you a little more confidence."
Porcello scattered four hits and three runs over six innings against the Marlins on Monday, tying his high-water mark for runs allowed in an outing this spring.
Porcello struck out three, and gave up a home run off a tough 2-1 changeup that Rob Brantly went down and got to hit out of the ballpark, perhaps with the help of a little bit of Florida wind. Porcello threw 86 pitches, 59 for strikes.
"I think, as far as being prepared to go into the season, I'm as prepared as I ever have been and have all my pitches working as well as I have at any point in my career coming out of Spring Training," Porcello said. "Preparation-wise, I'm definitely ready to go."