Porcello, Farrell not worried by spring struggles

Porcello, Farrell not worried by spring struggles

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Rick Porcello's Spring Training statistics (9.77 ERA in four starts) are beside the point. The Red Sox need him to execute his pitches better, and are hopeful that he will once regular-season games start in a week.

In Monday's 5-3 loss to the Orioles, Porcello gave up 10 hits and five runs over 6 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out five.

"He's capable of better," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He has shown that. We need Rick to pitch to his strengths, which are continually worked on. He's working at it to continue to refine it and gain that consistency. We need him to be a little bit more consistent."

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Rather than start in Montreal against the Blue Jays this weekend, Porcello will make his final tuneup of Spring Training in a Minor League game on Saturday.

Farrell has yet to announce which slot in the rotation Porcello will occupy. He will either pitch the final game of the opening series in Cleveland or one of the games in Toronto.

"At times it might be a little bit of a drift in his delivery, which could be the result of overthrowing at times trying to get a little added velocity on occasion," Farrell said. "When he stays back gathered and has good timing in his delivery, he executes on time. That's a fine line for a pitcher, but it's a matter of becoming more consistent with it. That's the bottom line, and it's all about location with Rick."

Porcello didn't seem particularly worried after Monday's start.

"I felt pretty good for the most part," said Porcello. "Obviously, I didn't like the first inning, especially the walks. I was able to settle down after that. I missed a couple pitches on back-to-back home runs. I don't know exactly where the curveball was but the fastball on the second one I believe was up a little bit so it's just a mistake in executing a pitch but other than that I felt pretty good. I was able to get deep into the game. So that's good."

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After an inconsistent first season in Boston, Porcello is hoping to settle in this year. His Grapefruit League struggles haven't discouraged him from thinking he can have a bounceback year.

"I think the best year of my career up to this point I had the worst spring of my career," Porcello said. "The numbers are what they are but at this point in my career it's about getting prepared and doing what I have to do to set myself up to have a quality season for us."

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.