Torres' tenure with Rays brief after relief outing

Torres' tenure with Rays brief after relief outing

Torres' tenure with Rays brief after relief outing
ST. PETERSBURG -- After calling on eight relievers during Sunday's 16-inning marathon, the Rays needed to make a move to give them some depth in the bullpen.

Tampa Bay paired that move with one that made room for Alex Cobb and recalled left-handed pitcher Alex Torres along with Cobb. To make room for the pair of hurlers, the Rays placed reliever Juan Cruz on the 15-day disabled list with a right groin strain and designated Adam Russell for assignment.

The Rays optioned Torres back down to Triple-A Durham following Monday's loss to the Yankees. A corresponding move will be made Tuesday.

Manager Joe Maddon explained the strategy by pointing out the 44 pitches Torres threw Monday.

"He's not going to be able to pitch for a couple of days, and we need another fresh arm up here [Tuesday] in case something were to happen," Maddon said. "It's one of those things where you have to manage your roster and move people around. Sixteen-inning games can do that to you."

The 23-year-old Venezuelan made his first Major League appearance Monday, taking the mound in the ninth inning, with the game knotted at 4.

It wasn't an easy spot for Torres with Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano due up for New York. Torres pitched the full inning, but walked Russell Martin with the bases loaded to bring in the winning run.

He allowed one hit and one runner to cross home plate in the frame, but walked three -- a problem he must fix before returning to the Majors.

"It's all about strike-throwing with him," Maddon said. "He just needs to get better command of his fastball."

Maddon made it clear that he was proud of the way Torres battled against some of the best hitters in Major League Baseball on Monday.

"I spoke to [Torres]," he said. "I really wanted him to understand how well he did do tonight. I would like to believe he knows now that he can pitch here. This guy has a great future with us."

One of the other moving parts included in Monday's move deals with Cruz, who said he felt his groin tighten while warming up in the bullpen before coming out onto the mound Sunday. But the right-hander opted to pitch because the team needed arms in the extra-innings contest.

"It's been a lingering kind of thing," said Joe Maddon about Cruz's injury. "That was three days in a row and he started to feel it, so we needed to do something there."

With Russell, it came down to a need for depth in the bullpen. Maddon said the Rays would love to bring Russell back if he is not claimed by another team.

Russell was 1-2 with a 3.03 ERA in 36 appearances for Tampa Bay this season. But he struggled with his control, walking 20 batters in 32.2. innings pitched.

"[Russell] was very pro about it," he said "We want him to continue to develop his delivery to make him more of a strike thrower. We love his stuff, but we need to get him more consistent in the strike zone."