Rick Porcello grew up in New Jersey and went to the same high school as former Yankees first-round pick Eric Duncan. I know that because Duncan was talking him up in the Triple-A clubhouse the year Porcello was drafted.
“I was actually a Mets fan growing up,” Porcello said yesterday. “But my parents were both Yankee fans. Mom loves Derek Jeter. Might like him more than me.”
Tonight, Porcello will try to knock Jeter and the Yankees out of the playoffs.
“I don’t think it necessarily has a lot to do with the team as much as knowing there’s a lot of people I grew up with at the games,” Porcello said. “I think the added pressure to that, just knowing they’re there, present at the ballpark. I’ll always have my family there and friends and teachers and people that I grew up with, so I think just having them there and wanting to perform well for them is a little added pressure.”
Porcello made one start against the Yankees this season. It was here in Detroit, and he allowed two runs through seven innings. It was the game when Eric Chavez broke his foot, and the Yankees starter was — of all people — A.J. Burnett. Tonight will be the rematch, with much more on the line.
“I think (my parents) are pretty much committed to rooting for me and the Tigers right now,” Porcello said. “So I don’t think they watch many Yankee games anymore.”
You can bet they’ll be watching this one.
Associated Press photo