July 10, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Tigers' Rick Porcello grateful for support in bid to make AL All-Star team

Kansas City, Missouri — It will have to be a last-minute development if the Tigers’ Rick Porcello is to make the American League All-Star team.

The great campaign on his behalf is over.

Despite an outpouring of support for Porcello, who never has been an All-Star, he didn’t win the Final Vote spot — the fan voting for which ended Thursday.

Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox did.

In fact, Chicago players won the final spot voting in both leagues; Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo got the nod in the National League.

It was not announced where Porcello finished among the five AL candidates, all of them pitchers, but in the final balloting totals made public, he trailed both Sale and Garrett Richards of the Los Angeles Angels.

Unless there is a sudden vacancy Porcello (11-5, 3.53 ERA) is called on to fill — which can’t be ruled out — the Tigers right-hander will not be on the AL squad for the July 15 game at Target Field in Minneapolis.

But he feels he had an All-Star experience, anyway — an experience he said he found “pretty overwhelming.”

Porcello said what left the biggest impression on him was “not being able to tell everyone thank you.”

“Toward all the people I’ve never met before, but who supported me in this, for me to not be able to express my full gratitude — it’s hard not to get emotional about it,” he said.

“For people to go out of their way to show that much support really means a lot to me.”

Porcello said even Gov. Chris Christie of his home state of New Jersey got involved in his support.

“I heard he was in my corner,” Porcello said. “I’ve never met him, but people who were linked into everything that was going on told me about it.

“I’ve just tried to let it take its course while focusing on my next start (Saturday).”

Porcello pitched into the process as well, but with his wallet. For every Twitter vote he received, he said he would donate 21 cents (21 being his uniform number) to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, up to $21,000.

As it turned out, the amount easily reached $21,000.

“I thought it was a good way to make this not just about me,” Porcello said about his Twitter pledge. “I wanted to give something back and show some thanks for everything that’s been done for me.”

The “#PickRick” campaign, with its billboards and T-shirts, was a strong one, indeed. But Sale received more votes all the same.

“This was a fantastic experience, though,” Porcello said. “I’ve never been involved in anything like it in my career.

“Obviously, I would like to be there (at the All-Star Game), but it doesn’t take anything away from how I feel I’ve thrown the ball the first half — and it’s an honor regardless.

“Just to be included in the conversation has been very special.”

Around the horn

Designated hitter Victor Martinez, still out because of a sore right side, told manager Brad Ausmus that the way he felt Thursday “is by far the best in a while.”

So maybe there’s a chance he can play again before the All-Star break, after all.

... Ausmus did not disclose what his rotation will be coming back from the All-Star Game, but for one of the games of the day-night doubleheader July 19 against Cleveland at Comerica Park, he said, “We will bring a pitcher up for one of those two games, for sure — because if we pitched two of our guys in one day, it would throw off our rotation.”

tom.gage@detroitnews.com
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Rick Porcello's career high in wins is 14, and he's already at 11 this season. / Elizabeth Conley / Detroit News