Porcello starts early, eyes early results 

February, 17, 2012

Rick PorcelloSteven King/Icon SMIRick Porcello found his fastball late last season, and hopes to carry that velocity into 2012.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- It's easy to forget that Rick Porcello is so young, because we heard so much about him before he was drafted out of New Jersey's Seton Hall Prep, because there was a lot of anticipation before he made his major league debut, and because he's already spent three years in the big leagues.

But Porcello just turned 23 a couple of months ago, and he's younger than Stephen Strasburg and just a little older than Matt Moore. He's got 89 starts in the big leagues, but is still developing, still learning.

He made a significant adjustment in this offseason, and already feels better for it. Last year, Porcello started his throwing program right after New Year's, which is standard operating procedure for a lot of pitchers. But it wasn't until after Porcello started playing catch in January of 2011 that he slammed his index finger in a door, creating a bubble of fluid underneath the nail. He had to have the fingernail drained, and couldn't start throwing in earnest for a while. When spring training opened in February, Porcello was behind.
He felt like he had to push to catch up, which set him back, and he opened last season with the worst fastball velocity of his career.

"I didn't get full strength back until later in the year," he said the other day at the Tigers' spring training facility.