KANSAS CITY -- With arguably the Tigers' biggest series of the first half underway, ace Max Scherzer finds himself in the unusual role of spectator.
Because Scherzer started the series finale with the Dodgers, the Royals have the good fortune of not having to face him during the four-game series, the final series before the All-Star break.
Scherzer, an All-Star for the second straight year, will watch as Detroit looks to build on its 4 1/2-game lead over Kansas City entering Thursday.
"Oh, it's great. You get a little breather before the All-Star break," Scherzer said, adding, "It's welcomed. Not going to complain about getting a break."
Scherzer said that for the most part, his normal pregame preparation would not differ.
"I'm in the status quo. I'm doing my program the way it always is. I'm coming to the park, getting my work in, lifting, running, doing everything I need to do to prepare like I was going to pitch in five days," Scherzer said. "The only thing that really might change is the throwing aspect."
Whether Scherzer pitches in the Midsummer Classic, and for how long, combined with the fact that the Tigers play a doubleheader on the Saturday after the break complicates matters for manager Brad Ausmus when it comes to setting his post-All-Star Game rotation.
But before Thursday's game, Ausmus indicated that Scherzer would pitch in one of the first two days following the break.
Porcello falls short in Final Vote ballot
KANSAS CITY -- Rick Porcello's bid to reach the All-Star Game via the Final Vote Sponsored by Experian fell short.
White Sox starter Chris Sale claimed the American League's final spot, topping Porcello and fellow American League starters Garrett Richards, Dallas Keuchel and Corey Kluber.
"This has been a fantastic experience. I've never been involved in something like this in my career, and obviously, I want to make that team and be there in the All-Star Game, but it doesn't take anything away from how I feel I threw the ball in the first half," said Porcello, who earned the nomination on the strength of his 11-5 record and 3.53 ERA.
Before the Final Vote, Red Sox manager and AL skipper John Farrell opted for his closer, Koji Uehara, over the five starters.
"There's been a long history of [managers] who took their own players, so I can't really argue with it, but do I think a guy like [Porcello] or Kluber was deserving? Yes," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "[But] I can't really argue, it's not like Uehara is a slouch."
• Outfielder Andy Dirks (back surgery) finished 1-for-2 in his first rehab start for Class A Lakeland on Tuesday. "He had no complaints or discomfort after," Ausmus said. "I know he made a diving play in the outfield [two days ago], and he was fine afterward."
• Ausmus also said that right-handed reliever Joel Hanrahan, who's recovering from Tommy John surgery, threw off the mound two days ago and could throw a bullpen sesson on Saturday.
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.