'It'll be different, having such a good relationship with him and playing with him for so long — obviously it'll be strange to see him on the other side,' Porcello said of pitching against the Mariners' Austin Jackson on Friday. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)
Detroit — Rick Porcello and Austin Jackson are friends. Until Jackson was traded to Seattle on July 31, they’d been teammates since 2010.
But the friendship will be suspended for a few hours Friday night.
“It’ll be different, having such a good relationship with him and playing with him for so long — obviously it’ll be strange to see him on the other side,” Porcello said. “But honestly, at this point, the way things have been going, I really don’t care.
“I’m trying to get his butt out just the same as anyone else.”
Friday night, Jackson will return to Comerica Park for the first time since he was replaced mid-inning against the White Sox and given a standing ovation from the fans, who were aware that he’d just been dealt in the David Price trade.
“It’s going to be weird seeing him in a different uniform,” Don Kelly said. “I just told him he better not take any hits away from me.”
The Tigers and Jackson have gone in different directions, in more ways than one, since the trade. The Tigers have been sliding, going 6-7 and falling out of first place in the American League Central. While Jackson has scuffled (hitting .250 with just one extra base hit entering play Thursday), the Mariners have gone 9-3 since the trade.
"Obviously, you want to play well against every team — especially with the team you were once with," Jackson told MLB.com on Thursday. "It's just competitive nature."
Porcello will be making his first start since his emergency relief appearance in the 19-inning loss in Toronto. He said he doesn’t think his routine has been disrupted too much.
“It was different, obviously what happened was different,” he said. “But I am trying to keep it as close to my normal routing as possible and prepare the same way and so the same things I normally do.”
Manager Brad Ausmus said the way it’s worked out, Porcello will take the ball Friday on his regular rest.
“I wasn’t overly concerned about (using him in relief), because we had to do it,” Ausmus said. “We were in a game we really had a chance to win and we knew we could push (his next start) back. He ends up on regular rest with only throwing 40 pitches. I don’t think it will be a problem for Rick at all.”
Porcello was asked if he’d at least give Jackson a head-nod when he stepped into the box.
“Nope,” he said. “Just stone cold.”