Rays' Torres Has Stuff To Succeed

PORT CHARLOTTE, FLA. — The Rays are quite pleased with what lefthander Alex Torres has shown them since being acquired from the Angels in the August 2009 Scott Kazmir trade.

They are even more excited about what they expect to see once he learns what to do with it.

"The stuff is really good; it's high-end stuff," manager Joe Maddon said. "You get a young pitcher like that, once he finds fastball command, he will take off."

Torres, 23, also needs to work on making better use of his stuff, learning how best to work counts and finish off hitters.

"(Maddon) told me the only thing I have to do is throw strikes," Torres said. "He told me I got everything, my stuff is good. I feel really happy because I know they believe in me."

Torres signed with the Angels in 2005. After being traded to the Rays, he spent last year with Double-A Montgomery, going 11-6, 3.47 with 150 strikeouts and 70 walks over 143 innings.

Even though the Rays have openings in their bullpen, they plan to keep Torres starting—at Triple-A Durham—so they have depth if needed for the rotation.
He had a strong showing over the winter in his native Venezuela, working with former big leaguer Wilson Alvarez, and came to camp saying he felt ready for the big leagues.

"I just want the chance they give me," Torres said. "I'm just going to be ready; I want to stay healthy and want to be ready for that time."
And the Rays say that time is coming.

"I think he's got a great look," Maddon said. "I think he's got major league stuff, it's just a matter of trusting that stuff."


• Righthander Edgar Gonzalez, who pitched in the big leagues for the Diamondbacks and Athletics, was signed to a minor-league contract.

• The Rays beat the Netherlands 4-3 in a return to Al Lang Field as part of the St. Petersburg International Baseball Series, being staged in hopes of landing World Baseball Classic games.