After the aces Justin Verlander and David Price dueled Friday night, Saturday's matchup pits two of the American League's most promising young arms.
The 25-year-old Hellickson is 4-3 with a 3.45 ERA this year as he tries to follow up on his 2011 season in which he won the AL Rookie of the Year Award. At 23, Porcello (5-5, 4.71 ERA) is younger but owns two more years of big league experience.
It was decided Monday that Hellickson would be healthy enough to make the start. The news came following an extended bullpen session in which he threw 60 pitches at an estimated 80-90 percent.
"I probably threw a little more than was planned," he said. "I felt really good throwing everything, getting back on the mound, getting the feel out there."
The right-hander's last start came on June 14 against the Mets. It was cut short after he allowed eight runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. He was placed on the 15-day DL four days later.
"My command was a little off against the Mets," Hellickson said Friday. "I was throwing strikes, they were just hitting good pitches. It was just a frustrating game all in all."
For Porcello, he'll see the Rays for the second time in 2012. He last faced them on April 10 -- his season debut -- tossing seven innings and allowing two runs on seven hits in a no-decision.
He is 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA in three career starts vs. Tampa Bay and 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA at Tropicana Field. Hideki Matsui is the only Ray with more than 10 at-bats against Porcello, and he's 4-for-16 (.250) with a double and five RBIs.
Tigers: Dirks not cleared for baseball activities
Andy Dirks' right Achilles tendinitis isn't healing as quickly as he or the Tigers would like. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Monday the outfielder will remain in a walking boot for at least another week while receiving shockwave therapy on the injured area. He hasn't played in a game since May 30.
"He's not right. He's not ready to start any baseball activities," Leyland said. "We were hoping for that. We didn't get it."
Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are a combined 1-for-7 (.143) in their careers vs. Hellickson. Austin Jackson, who is 3-for-9, is the only active Tigers player with a homer off the right-hander. No hitter has more than nine at-bats.
Rays: Longoria to restart his rehab
Third baseman Evan Longoria had a setback in his recovery from a partial tear in his left hamstring during his second rehab game for Triple-A Durham on June 18. The team announced Friday that he is ready to restart the process, which will include batting, fielding and running drills before playing in another game.
"We're finally moving back forward again," Longoria said. "It wasn't like I thought -- it wasn't anything major. ... I've already missed enough time as it is, and I don't want my season to be over at this point by doing something stupid."
The Rays also got good news on Sam Fuld, who has been on the 60-day DL since April 2 following wrist surgery. The initial prognosis was that he'd be unavailable until at least August. Now, after taking 35 swings and feeling fine afterward, the team is talking about sending him on a rehab assignment next week.
Carlos Pena is the only current player on the roster with a home run off Porcello. He is 2-for-8 (.250) with the homer and three RBIs.
Two more young pitchers duel Sunday in the four-game series finale. Tigers left-hander Drew Smyly (2-3, 4.48 ERA) takes the mound against the Rays' Alex Cobb (3-4, 4.73 ERA). Smyly recently turned 23 and is in his first season as a Major Leaguer, while Cobb is 24.