Rays Prospect Q & A: Alex Torres

One of eight starters vying for five rotations spots in Rays camp this spring, left-hander Alex Torres may be headed to AAA Durham to start 2012, but he should nonetheless get an opportunity to make an impact for the Rays this season. I caught up with him on the first day of camp and he talked about his new Twitter account, the Venezuelan Winter League, his off-season preparations and more.

Rays Digest: I noticed you're on Twitter now. You started a Twitter account? How are you liking it so far?

Alex Torres: Yeah, yeah. It's good. That was my wife that opened up my account. She said "You got to do it! You got to do it!" So I did it.

Rays Digest: Is it kind of a way to get your name out there? Is it a way to interact with fans? Or is it just a fun thing for you?

Alex Torres: I just opened it up for my fans and to the media for when they want to know something about me. My purpose for that is because I just got into it for my fans and media.

Rays Digest: How was your off-season? What kinds of things did you do this off-season to prepare?

Alex Torres: I worked a lot with my mechanics and my release point, because I'm going to come this year and throw more strikes. They wanted that - for me to throw more strikes. To command my fastball - that is the first thing - and then my breaking pitch.

Rays Digest: So by working on your release point, is the goal to cut down on your walks? Because you obviously have the stuff.

Alex Torres: Yeah. Like I said, I just gotta find my release point and throw more strikes to cut down on the walks, because they killed me the last couple of years. If I do that, I think I should be fine.

Rays Digest: The rotation is very, very deep this year with seven or eight guys - you being one of them - who all figure to pitch in the rotation at some point this year. You gotta feel really good about being a part of such a deep rotation.

Alex Torres: Yeah. Like I said last year when I was called up the first time - I told Joe Maddon - "Hey, however you gonna use me...I'm gonna be there. Any situation, any day, any inning, I'm gonna be available for that situation."

Rays Digest: So you're perfectly fine pitching long relief or in the bullpen?

Alex Torres: Yeah I mean like I said, I'm going to be fighting this spring to earn any spot. After spring training - when the roster is made - if I'm on there I'm gonna be happy. However they gonna use me is fine. If I'm gonna be a long-reliever then I'm gonna to talk to somebody who has experience in that role to give me some tips and be prepared and make adjustments. It's the same in baseball every day, you gotta do adjustments.

Rays Digest: This winter a very unfortunate thing happened in Venezuela to Wilson Ramos with him getting kidnapped. So, I think some people in America kind of have the impression that maybe Venezuela is a dangerous place, but I don't know of that is necessarily true.

Alex Torres: About being dangerous - that's true. That's why a lot of Venezuelan guys - big leaguers who have a couple of years in the big leagues - that's why they don't come down there to play. Over there is too dangerous for that.

But you know what? It's a really nice league. It's a good level of league. You're facing big league guys. You're facing AA guys, AAA guys. There is a lot of competition. It's a good time for players that go play over there. It's a good way to prepare for spring training.

Rays Digest: Yeah. I mean other than the major leagues, it seems like that is the best level of competition that you're going to find. Especially during the off-season.

Alex Torres: Yeah. It's a really strong league and organization. The American guys when they go down there and play, they are going to come back, because the fans over there are great fans. They like when the guys come over from the United States and when they are doing good they love it.

Rays Digest: The atmosphere I've heard down there is absolutely electric compared to here. Fans seem like they are just crazy for baseball in Venezuela.

Alex Torres: You can ask Luke Scott, Stephen Vogt, Ryan Reid - they have played over there. Luke Scott is a super-star over there. He's gone two consecutive years I think. He's done well over there and the fans love him you know? That's a good league. I love it.

You can follow Alex Torres on Twitter at @Alex21Torres



John Gregg is Publisher and Senior Editor of Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaysDigest. He can also be reached via e-mail at raysdigest.com@gmail.com.

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