As Rick Porcello explained after catching his breath, pitchers do a lot of running.
One morning this week in the Tigers’ spring-training stadium, Porcello did what is called the “Tiger Mile.” He described it this way:
“You do four sets of stairs up the stadium staircase in leftfield. Then one lap around the field. Then three sets of stairs. Another lap around the field. Two sets of stairs. Another lap. And one set of stairs and finish it off with a lap.”
“I think it’s about a mile, but it feels a whole lot longer than that, especially when you get off the stairs. Ever since I’ve been here, we’ve been running this run,” Porcello said. “I’ve done it twice so far since I got down here. I’ll probably do it a couple of more times. It’s a good run for the day after you throw in a game, to flush the system out.”
Pitchers run a lot. “It’s essential,” Porcello said.
That’s because leg strength is vital in pitching. It’s hard to pitch well on a wobbly foundation.
“During the season, I actually enjoy running, believe it or not,” he said. “It’s a good time for me to decompress. It’s more of a therapeutic thing for me. By that time, I’m in pretty good shape. Spring-training running I don’t enjoy. A lot of the work we do now is not for the first half of the year. It’s for the marathon stretch, the second half of the year. That’s when you really know how hard you worked and how good of shape you are in.”
Porcello is one of many pitchers who got to camp several days early. They have been doing unsupervised workouts leading up to the first formalized workouts with the coaching staff today — the official 2014 start of the long run.
THE VETERANS: In his description of the Tiger Mile, Porcello used the phrase “ever since I’ve been here.”
That shows how you how fast time goes. Porcello is 25, but this will be his sixth Tigers season. The only current Tigers who have been with the team longer than Porcello are Justin Verlander (eight seasons) and Miguel Cabrera (six seasons).