Veteran Andres Torres finding footing in Pawtucket after recovery from heel surgery
|06.30.14 at 8:56 am ET|
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Andres Torres began to set up a running parachute on his waist as he stood alongside the left-field line before Sunday’s game. While the rest of the team sat in the clubhouse resting up, Torres, alone, ran in the outfield back and forth with the parachute attached to his back.
Torres, who signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox on June 11, is in the process of getting back into game shape after not partaking in baseball activities for 10 months.
Despite the lack of baseball activity, Torres, who is built more like an NFL fullback than a major league outfielder, is in great physical condition. Infielder Ryan Roberts looked out at Torres sprinting back and forth in the outfield and paused.
“Man, if I had [Torres’] body, I would get out of baseball,” Roberts mused. “I’d drop all of my stuff and become a Calvin Klein underwear model.”
Roberts isn’t kidding. Despite only working out occasionally during his recovery from the removal of bone spurs around his left Achillies tendon, Torres managed to stay in extremely good shape. PawSox manager Kevin Boles said that there are no physical limitations for Torres moving forward. The main goal for Torres at the moment is for the 36-year-old to get his timing back on the baseball field.
“It takes time because you spent so much time not doing baseball stuff,” Torres said. “Getting back is going to take a while. You need to adapt, and that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m adapting. I’m trying to work on my adaptation right now.”
Torres, who played five games with the Single-A Lowell Spinners to ease his way back, has provided a spark in the Pawtucket clubhouse in his short time with the club.
“High energy,” Boles said. “He appreciates the opportunity as long as he’s been in the big leagues. You would think that he just signed [his first contract], from an on-field standpoint. He’s a switch-hitter and his timing has been pretty good. He’s played a good center field. He’s getting down the line and he’s in good physical condition. He’s in really good shape and he’s got a presence in our clubhouse already. He’s made an immediate impact in the way that he goes about his business.”
Torres said he feels no lingering affects from the surgery.
“I feel good physically,” Torres said. “I need to take more time hitting then running bases, and I need to do more running, but that’s what I’m doing here. I’ll be good to go.”
As a veteran of parts of nine major league seasons, Torres provides a poise not often seen in Triple-A clubhouses. Torres played a major role for the 2010 World Series champion Giants, hitting .268/.343/.479 with 26 stolen bases, 16 home runs, 63 RBIs, 43 doubles and eight triples in 139 games.
Torres’ veteran presence has the potential to have a major influence on the young players, according to Boles.
“He’s an example for the younger guys and the energy that he provides, the attitude and the energy that he provides,” Boles said. “He appreciates the opportunity, and you can tell he doesn’t take it for granted. From a health standpoint, and having longevity in a career is precious, and the way he prepares is a great example for these guys because some of these guys are just starting out their careers, but the way that he’s kept himself in shape, it’s unfortunate the injury sustained, but he’s battled back.”
If Torres finds his swing and timing and is able to prove that he is able to play at a high level for the PawSox, he presents himself as an option for outfield depth on the major league club. Until then, Torres is focused on the task at hand: finding his timing.
“That’s my goal, try to get to the majors,” Torres said. “That’s why I’m here working hard. I keep working every day and see what can happen. I want to make sure when I go there that I’m ready to go and if they call me up and we’ll go from here.”
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