Alex Torres (baseball)
Torres wearing a protective cap while pitching for the New York Mets in 2015
December 8, 1987 |
|July 18, 2011, for the Tampa Bay Rays|
(through 2015 season)
|Earned run average||2.68|
Alexander Jesus Torres Matos (born December 8, 1987), nicknamed Dark Helmet, is a Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher who is currently a free agent. He previously played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Tampa Bay Rays, San Diego Padres and New York Mets. He is known as the first pitcher in Major League Baseball to take advantage of the league rules allowing pitchers to wear protective headgear full-time.
Los Angeles Angels
Torres was signed on January 12, 2005, by Los Angeles Angels scout Carlos Porte, as an international free agent, and was assigned to the Angels' Dominican Summer League Angels that season. He spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons with the Angels' rookie-level Arizona League Angels, as well as the beginning of the 2008 season before earning a promotion to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the Class A-Advanced California League.
In 2009, Torres was again assigned to Rancho Cucamonga, where he earned minor league Pitcher of the Month honors for the Angels organization in both June and July. He held a stretch of 19 consecutive scoreless innings pitched (June 9–29, 2008) and won his final 5 starts before being promoted again to the Arkansas Travelers in the Double-A Texas League on July 31, 2009.
Tampa Bay Rays
On August 28, 2009, Torres was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays along with infielders Sean Rodriguez and Matthew Sweeney for pitcher Scott Kazmir, and he was assigned to the Montgomery Biscuits in the Double-A Southern League. Following the 2009 season, the Rays added Torres to the 40-man roster on November 19 to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Torres started 27 games for Montgomery in 2010, posting a 3.47 ERA and 150 strike-outs in 142 2⁄3 innings.
For the 2011 season, Torres was promoted to the Durham Bulls in the Triple-A International League. He was promoted to the Major League for the first time on July 18, 2011. He pitched in a single game on July 18, giving up one hit and three walks in one inning, before he was returned to Triple-A. He was called up to the Rays again in September, pitching in 3 more games in relief. For the season in Triple-A, he started 27 games, had a 3.08 ERA and 156 strike-outs in 146 1⁄3 innings.
Torres began 2012 as a starter for the Durham Bulls, but he struggled with control and was sent to the bullpen after 5 starts with a 10.38 ERA. He made 11 relief appearances, allowing 11 earned runs in 20 1⁄3 innings, and then returned to the starting rotation in mid-June. He continued to struggle in 8 more starts, allowing 24 earned runs in 24 innings, before he was placed on the disabled list and then sent to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Rays in Port Charlotte, Florida to work with pitching coach Marty DeMerritt. Torres returned to make the final start of the year in Durham, pitching 5 2⁄3 scoreless innings and striking out 10. He then pitched in the winter leagues in his native Venezuela.
Torres again opened 2013 with the Triple-A Durham Bulls as he was eligible for a fourth option year after being added to the 40-man roster in 2009. He pitched to a 3.52 ERA in 9 starts in Durham in 2013.
Torres was called up the Rays in mid-May when David Price went down with an injury. He appeared in 2 games out of the bullpen, including a scoreless four-inning stint, and was sent back down to Durham. He was recalled on June 1 to add depth to the bullpen. There was discussion in June about turning Torres into a starter, but manager Joe Maddon opted to keep him in the bullpen. Torres remained with the big league club for the remainder of the season, accumulating a 1.71 ERA and 62 strike-outs in 58 innings and 39 games.
San Diego Padres
On January 22, 2014, the Rays traded Torres and Jesse Hahn to the San Diego Padres for Logan Forsythe, Brad Boxberger, Matt Andriese, Maxx Tissenbaum and Matt Lollis. On June 21, 2014, Torres became the first Major League Baseball pitcher to wear the isoBLOX protective cap introduced early in the year. MLB approved the product in January, nearly a year and a half after pitcher Brandon McCarthy was struck in the head by a line drive and suffered life-threatening brain injuries. Other pitchers with traumatic injuries includes Juan Nicasio, Alex Cobb and Aroldis Chapman, which led MLB to ramp up efforts to better protect pitchers. Torres accumulated a 3.33 ERA over 54 innings in 70 appearances in 2014, striking out 51 and walking 33.
New York Mets
On March 30, 2015, the Padres traded Torres to the New York Mets for Cory Mazzoni and a player to be named later. Torres pitched to a 3.15 ERA, but walked 26 batters in 34 1⁄3 and allowed left-handed hitters a .268 batting average against. All of this combined with the fact that Torres was out of minor league options ultimately led the Mets to designate him for assignment on August 4. Torres cleared waivers and was reassigned to the Mets' triple-A club in Las Vegas.
Torres signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves on December 31, 2015. On March 30, 2016, he was released.
- Watson, Matt (August 9, 2009). "Torres Named Angels' Pitcher of the Month". MiLB.com. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Chastain, Bill (August 29, 2009). "Rays trade Kazmir for Angels' prospects". MLB.com. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Chastain, Bill (September 1, 2009). "Rays get Rodriguez from Angels". MLB.com. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- "Rays add 3 to 40-man roster; activate Pena from DL". Associated Press. November 19, 2009. Archived from the original on November 19, 2009. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
- "Rays promote 3 from Triple-A Durham". USA Today. July 18, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
- Kinsella, Steve (November 8, 2013). "Alex Torres Overcame Adversity To Shine In 2013". Sports Talk Florida. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
- Rancel, Tommy (June 21, 2013). "Alex Torres, the new force in Tampa pen". Sweet Spot Blog. ESPN.com. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
- Eddy, Matt (March 25, 2013). "Major League Players Who Qualify For A Fourth Option In 2013". Baseball America. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
- Chastain, Bill; Adam Berry (May 16, 2013). "Excelling at Triple-A, Torres called up to join 'pen". MLB.com. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Meisel, Zack (June 1, 2013). "Lueke sent to Triple-A; Torres called up". MLB.com. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Brock, Corey (January 22, 2014). "Padres land Torres, Hahn in deal with Rays". MLB.com. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
- MLB.com – Torres the first to try out protective cap in game
- Lin, Dennis (March 30, 2015). "Padres trade Alex Torres to Mets". U-T San Diego. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
- "A week before opener, owner Fred Wilpon addresses Mets". ESPN.com. Associated Press. March 30, 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
- "Mets acquire Eric O'Flaherty, designate Alex Torres for assignment". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
- Bowman, Mark (December 31, 2015). "Braves sign Torres, Kendrick to Minors deals". MLB.com. Retrieved December 31, 2015.