Rick Porcello didn’t take long to show opposing hitters he means business. In his pro debut, in high Class A at the age of 19, Porcello threw five innings, giving up just one hit and striking out three against the Tampa Yankees. Meanwhile, Twins lefthander Francisco Liriano was making a rehab start with the Fort Meyers Miracle and there was already ninth-inning drama in a High Desert-Lancaster matchup.
The Giants recently announced that Ryan Rohlinger would move to third base full-time and that decision is starting off well. Rohlinger went 3-for-4 with a double in a season opening rout of Bakersfield. San Jose romped 12-2 while getting a good outing from lefthander Clayton Tanner who went six innings, giving up three hits and striking out two. The Giants beat Rangers righty Tommy Hunter, who gave up four runs on five hits in six innings, fanning three.
Lancaster first baseman Lars Anderson hit his first of what will probably be many extra-base hits in the favorable California League. However, Anderson had trouble fielding a grounder late in the game that led to a High Desert rally and 9-8 victory.
Oakland affiliate Stockton has a stacked rotation, which includes the likes of Trevor Cahill, Jared Lansford and Henry Rodriguez, but White Sox import Fautino de los Santos got the Opening Day nod. The righty took the loss in a 3-2 defeat against Modesto, giving up two runs and striking out six in six innings.
Former Florida State shortstop Mark Hallberg had four hits and scored on Gerardo Parra’s seventh-inning home run in Visalia’s 5-3 victory at Inland Empire.
Florida State League
Throwing Francisco Liriano in an FSL game seems unfair, but Sarasota actually enjoyed it. Third baseman Juan Francisco hit three doubles off the lefty phenom and stole home in the 8-6 victory. Liriano took the loss, striking out eight but giving up six hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings. Catcher Wilson Ramos, the Twins’ No. 3 prospect, had a homer among his three hits, and third baseman Danny Valencia added a ninth-inning three-run homer off Reds prospect Sean Watson.
Porcello, making his pro debut in the FSL as a teenager, dazzled with five one-hit innings in a 4-1 victory against Tampa. He walked two and struck out three. Yankees prospect Mark Melancon left the game without facing a batter; we’ll have a report on Melancon as soon as information becomes available.
The FSL had other big leaguers on rehab other than Liriano, with Jeremy Hermida hitting third for Jupiter and Orlando Hernandez pitching five innings for St. Lucie. Rehabbing Brad Lidge started for Clearwater, going an inning before giving way to 2007 first-rounder Joe Savery. He threw five scoreless innings, walking five and striking out seven, but Dunedin won 2-1 on a seventh-inning homer by waiver-wire pickup Brian Dopirak.
Among the age-appropriate players making their FSL debuts were Daytona middle infielders Tony Thomas (two hits) and Darwin Barney (0-for-4) in the Cubs’ 8-6 loss to Brevard County (Brewers).
The Carolina League opens tonight with four games. Matt Wieters is at Frederick to open his first professional season.