Rays like impressive Torres as a reliever

Rays like impressive Torres as a reliever

BOSTON -- Alex Torres is already drawing comparisons to former Rays reliever J.P. Howell in the way he burst onto the scene and has very quickly earned the respect of manager Joe Maddon, who doesn't mind throwing Torres into high-leverage situations.

With 18 1/3 scoreless innings this season, Torres has been so good that the Rays will leave him in the bullpen for the time being, rather than attempt to convert him back to a starter, as he was for most of his Minor League career.

"I've been so impressed with what he's doing right now," Maddon said. "We all have. For me, I think my mindset, we have enough of the [Jake] Odorizzis and the [Alex] Colomes and the [Chris] Archers and all those guys that are able to fulfill that starting role. I think what he's doing right now is very beneficial to us, and his own personal career.

"And there's no guarantee to say that if he started if he would pitch equally well as he has right now. I don't know that. I just know what I'm seeing has been really good."

Dating back to 2011 -- he didn't pitch in the Majors last year -- Torres has thrown 23 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, the second longest in club history, topped only by Howell, who threw 27 1/3 scoreless innings in 2012.

Since Torres has been used to pitch more than one inning in relief, he's typically been unavailable on back-to-back days. But Maddon said the team is hoping to limit the workload of their left-handed budding star.

"As we continue to do this, there will be that moment where I'm comfortable going a couple days in a row," Maddon said. "He insists he's fine the next day. This is just purely us being cautious. This is such a good story and a good arm right now, and such a high upside, we don't want to mess it up."

Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.