LAKELAND, Fla. -- While most of the Tigers enjoy their lone off-day of the spring, Rick Porcello will be on the back fields of the Tigertown complex, getting in his scheduled work against Minor League hitters in an intrasquad game. It's becoming an annual routine for him, the way the schedule falls.
The Tigers always schedule an off-day in Spring Training for the Wednesday of the next-to-last week of camp, giving them just over a week to ramp up workouts and make final player evaluations and roster decisions before heading north. In turn, the Tigers line up their Spring Training rotation in large part based on how their schedule falls to open the regular season.
For the fourth time in five years, Porcello's spot in the rotation falls on the off-day. Rather than change his start-to-start routine, the Tigers have him pitch in a Minor League game. It's not that common for Major League starters to do; some teams will move a big league starter or two over there for a spot start instead of have him face a division rival late in Spring Training.
The catch for Porcello, though, is that his Minor League start seems to always cost him an off-day. Instead of sleeping in, Porcello will be on the mound for an 11 a.m. ET contest against a lineup of Tigers farmhands.