Porcello says command 'best it's felt' this spring

Porcello says command 'best it's felt' this spring

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There would be no off-day for Rick Porcello on Wednesday, even as the Red Sox had their only vacant day on the Grapefruit League schedule.

The righty needed to stay on turn to get prepared for the start of the season, and pitching in a game against the Rays' Triple-A affiliate on Field 4 wound up being a highly productive experience.

For the first time this spring, Porcello felt in complete command.

Spring: Tickets | Ballpark | 40-man roster | NRIs

"Today was definitely the best it's felt so far," said Porcello. "It's kind of what I've been working toward. Things felt really good today."

Over six innings, the sinkerballer kept the ball down consistently while giving up four hits and one unearned run. Porcello walked one and struck out eight, throwing 96 pitches.

"I was definitely happy with the way I threw the ball, especially later on. Arm strength is there. Stamina feels like it's there. No problems," Porcello said.

Catcher Christian Vazquez also had a productive day as he continues to progress in his return from Tommy John surgery. He caught all six innings by Porcello.

"Yeah, he looks great," Porcello said of Vazquez. "He's throwing the ball harder back to me than I am to him. No, he looks very good."

The Red Sox will soon make an evaluation of whether Vazquez will be ready to start the season on the Major League roster.

"The way Christian catches the ball, he's easy to build chemistry with," said Porcello. "But definitely, the past couple of times I've thrown to him, we've gotten some good work in, and he's starting to learn me a little bit and I'm learning him. It's been good to be able to work with him."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.