Right-hander Rick Porcello wears No. 48 for the Detroit Tigers. Outfielder Torii Hunter, who just signed with the Tigers, has worn No. 48 for the entirety of his career. Uh-oh. This isn't an NFL preseason game. There can't be two Nos. 48. There can be only one.
So, who gives? Both, says the Tigers' beat reporter for MLB.com:
Torii Hunter says Rick Porcello gave him number 48 in exchange for donation to Hurricane Sandy relief. Porcello lives in NJ.
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) November 16, 2012
It's a great gesture on the part of both players, the best number-swapping story in the majors since A.J. Burnett started a college fund for the daughter of teammate Daniel McCutchen earlier this year.
He needs more than karma, but here's hoping this is the beginning of an upward arc for Porcello, who made the majors at age 20 but hasn't improved since his rookie campaign three years ago. He turns 24 in December, so he's not running out of time by any means. And he hasn't been bad (though he did lead the league in hits allowed in 2012). He just hasn't been as good as was hoped — and, as a result, the Tigers didn't give Porcello much to do during their World Series run. But, as a person, if this number swap is any indication, he's mature beyond his years. Oh: Good on Hunter, too (it's his money, after all).
Beck adds that Porcello will wear No. 21 going forward. Coincidentally, that's the number Delmon Young — the player Hunter replaces — wore for the Tigers.
In case you would like to follow the Porcello-Hunter example and swap some of your cash for hurricane relief in New Jersey, go here. They still need help.