Porcello honored to receive Opening Day nod

Porcello honored to receive Opening Day nod

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In one of the first conversations Rick Porcello had with Red Sox manager John Farrell this spring, the right-hander learned he would be getting the ball on Opening Day for the first time in his career.

A day after Farrell made the news public, Porcello reflected on the honor of that assignment for a rotation that also includes Chris Sale and David Price.

Farrell made the decision to go with Porcello, last season's American League Cy Young Award winner, before Price sustained a left forearm injury that is all but certain to keep him off the 25-man roster for the start of the season.

"Yeah, I mean, those guys are incredible starting pitchers," said Porcello, who will face the Pirates on April 3 at Fenway Park. "To get the ball, I don't think it's slighting them or anything like that. It's a huge honor to have it. I think it's tradition for the pitchers, when you get the ball Opening Day, it tends to be a big deal. So I'm grateful for that opportunity and it's definitely an honor, especially with the talented rotation that we have."

Porcello earned the honor by having a breakthrough season in 2016, going 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA.

"I'm treating like I'm going to treat my other hopefully 33, 34 or however many starts it is," Porcello said. "You know it's Game 1, I've got Pittsburgh and I'll be ready to go. It's not anything different. I don't think it would make sense to put more emphasis on your first start of the year as opposed to your 10th or 15th. I'm going to prepare like I always do and take everything in stride, and do what I know how to do."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.