BOSTON (AP) — Fresh from his World Series workout, Rick Porcello was far from dog tired.
Porcello watched in amusement as 4-month-old Bronco the German shepherd explored the yard Sunday. The pup sniffed outside the Boston dugout, zig-zagged across the outfield grass and ran next to the Green Monster.
“I got him a couple days before the playoffs,” Porcello said. “As soon as I saw him, I knew I wanted him to be in my life.”
The 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner didn’t have to look far to find him. Bronco’s dad is Drago, a 7-year-old service dog owned by Fenway Park head groundskeeper Dave Mellor.
Drago was on the field, as usual, with Mellor after the Red Sox held a short practice two days before Game 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bronco was named because of his active nature, his tail wagging a mile a minute, and roamed from corner to corner with Drago.
“Who’s a good dog?” Porcello called as they ran past.
To the delight of a tour group in the stands, Bronco dashed toward a worker’s wheelbarrow and then veered off. After about 20 minutes, Porcello scooped up the playful pup and carried him off the bark park.
Bronco was among a litter of five born this summer to Lisle, another of Mellor’s dogs. Red Sox infielder Ian Kinsler also adopted one of the puppies.
Porcello said his parents always had dogs around the house when he was growing up in New Jersey. Mostly they had Labradors, and one of their pooches was named Kirby, for Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.
It’s a busy time for Porcello, and right now Bronco is living with a trainer.
“Once the season is over, he’ll come live with me and get acclimated,” Porcello said. “I can’t wait to have a dog in the house.”
Drago is always by Mellor’s side, on and off the field. Twice in his life, Mellor has been hit by cars, resulting in dozens of surgeries. Drago helps Mellor cope with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“We’re a team,” he said.
Mellor has been grooming the Red Sox lawn since 2001, and said many fans wonder whether his dog was named for former Boston pitcher Dick Drago.
It’d be a good story, he allowed, but not accurate.
“He was born in Slovakia,” Mellor said. “They told us his name means ‘precious’ in Slovakian.”
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