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Morning Prowl: Get Well, Big Al; Porcello's Early Success; Praise for Ilitch; and Let's Go, Wings!

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Thoughts and get well wishes go out to our friend Big Al Beaton, who underwent back surgery at the University of Michigan hospital yesterday. If you know Al at all, you know what he's been through with his health. So while this procedure and recovery will be grueling for him, it gives him a chance at a better quality of life.

Let's just hope this doesn't make him less crabby during the Lions' season.

Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan writes about the impressive season Rick Porcello has had so far, along with another Tiger who found himself pitching in the majors at the age of 20, Edwin Jackson. How did the two players handle their respective early success?

(Thanks to Kmann for posting this in the FanShots)

And while we're talking about Porcello, I never thought I'd see him in the same sentence with John Doherty. But Mack Avenue Tigers found one. The rookie is the first Tigers pitcher with five wins in May since Doherty did it in 1994.

Peter Gammons praises Mike Ilitch for doing all he can to keep the Tigers competitive and give fans a diversion during rough economic times in the state of Michigan. Defying Bud Selig's wishes to follow salary slots for draft picks with the contract he gave Porcello is a great example of that.

With all the hullabaloo surrounding Matt Wieters' debut for the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, MASN's Roch Kubatko is also excited about another rookie starting for the O's tonight. Pitcher David Hernandez has thrown 60 strikeouts in 43.1 innings for Triple-A Norfolk this season.

Hazaa points out that this 2009 Tigers pitching staff is on pace to break the franchise record for strikeouts. The 1968 team struck out 1,115 batters.

Get well wishes also go out to Tigers radio play-by-play announcer Dan Dickerson, who had surgery to repair a ruptured quadriceps tendon in his left leg. Dickerson suffered the injury in a fall while jogging on Tuesday in Kansas City. (I'm going to add this to my list of many, many excuses for not jogging. It's a very comprehensive list.)

No word yet as to who will fill in on play-by-play for the Tigers' series in Baltimore, or if the Tigers will continue to go with Jim Price, assisted by FOX Sports Detroit's John Keating.

Want to ask a Tigers prospect about life in the minor leagues? Pitcher Andrew Hess, currently with the Lakeland Flying Tigers (and also a former Michigan Wolverine), is taking questions from Tigers Minors readers on any subject they'd prefer.

(via TigerBlog)

And, of course, congratulations to the Detroit Red Wings for making it to the Stanley Cup finals for the second straight year by beating the Chicago Blackhawks (sorry, 'Duk) 2-1 in overtime. (I love the Wings' superstition about not touching the Clarence Campbell trophy.)

How much will Pittsburgh hate Detroit if when the Wings beat the Penguins again (and after Marian Hossa left the Pens to join the Wings this season)?