FORT MYERS, Fla. -- No pitcher wants to be inefficient or put himself in jams. But in Spring Training, with preparation taking precedence over results, those bugaboos can have their benefits.
That was the case for Rick Porcello on Wednesday, as the Red Sox right-hander labored through 70 pitches over a four-inning start against the Twins at JetBlue Park. In his third spring outing, he allowed three hits, two walks and one run while striking out three and dealing with at least one baserunner in each frame.
"Overall, it was a little bit of a grind and a little bit of a battle," Porcello said. "But it was good to feel that and be in some of those situations."
Porcello could not work himself out of trouble in the opening inning, issuing a one-out walk to Shane Robinson, who came around via a stolen base and a Kennys Vargas double.
In the fourth, however, with the score tied at 1, a one-out triple by Aaron Hicks put the go-ahead run 90 feet away. Minnesota's Chris Herman slapped a hard grounder to the left side, and third baseman Jemile Weeks smothered it with a diving stop, holding Hicks at third before making the throw to first. Porcello then induced an easy fly ball from Eric Fryer to end his day.
"I think it's a little different mindset when you get into a tough situation," Porcello said. "Your mind tends to speed up on you, and the game tends to speed up on you. You have to be in those situations to slow it down and feel that. It was a good opportunity today to pitch out of it."
In terms of Porcello's stuff, Wednesday's game was a mixed bag.
He came into the start working on his changeup, and that pitch showed improvement. On the other hand, Porcello described his fastball command as "shaky," and he wasn't able to get his sinker down in the zone as much as he wanted.
"I was trying to force it in there and just wasn't letting it happen," he said. "It's an easy adjustment. I threw some good ones -- it wasn't like I didn't throw any -- but the consistency is what I need to get better at. Just continue to work on it."
Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.