Quick Study

Andres Torres was waiting by the batting cage behind the Giants dugout this morning, his bat resting on his shoulder. He had already taken his swings but was back for another session before today’s game against the Diamondbacks.

“I didn’t really learn anything about hitting until I was 18,” he said. That’s when he left Puerto Rico for Miami-Dade Community College to play baseball. “I think if you don’t learn it when you’re a kid, it’s a lot tougher. I’m still learning.”

For years, Torres managed to survive in professional baseball on his speed. In 12 years, he played 89 games in the major leagues – compiling a .210 average. Until he made the Giants roster out of spring camp this year, he hadn’t worn a major-league uniform in more than three years.

“I was just fast,” Torres said. “But I didn’t know how to hit. It just took me a lot of time to learn. It took me awhile just to learn that you can’t just be fast. You’ve got to be able to swing the bat.”

He studies other batters. He takes video of himself in the batting cage and consults with hitting coach Carney Lansford. He talks to other players. In other words, he is applying to batting the kind of studiousness he has once reserved solely for running.

And perhaps no baseball player knows more about running fast than Torres. He has made the cultivation of speed his life’s work.

He studies human kinetics and physiology to understand how the body generates speed. He is a student of the books of Tudor Bompa, who writes about a training method called “periodization.” He studies videos and training regimens of Olympic sprinters like Asafa Powell of Jamaica. He scours the internet for the latest techniques.

Even at 31, he’s the fastest guy on the Giants – and Eugenio Velez is no slouch.

“Age doesn’t matter if you work at it,” Torres said.

Friday night, his two passions came together.

He hit a pinch-hit solo home run in the eighth inning Friday night in a 2-0 win against the Diamondbacks. It was only the second homer of his ML career.

Almost by instinct, he flew around the bases so fast that he reached home plate before the relief pitchers — watching the game in a room behind the dugout – had reached the field.

More on Torres in a later blog . . .

Saw Joe Martinez today in the clubhouse. He looks amazingly good. He said the only symptom of the hit to his head is fatigue. He’s tired a lot, he says, but he thinks it might just be from lying around. “You get tired when you’re not doing anything,” Martinez said. “So I don’t really think it has anything to do with the injury.”

 

 

I’m leaving the press box to watch the game from my seats in Section 109 . . .

4 Comments

Glad to hear that Martinez is doing okay and nice store about Torres.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Wow, great story about Andres Torres!! Thanks so much, I’ve been waiting forever for you to write about him!!! Even though he’s only a backup, he has become one of my favorite players. I can’t wait to see your later blog with more about him!Thanks for the update on Joe Martinez. I saw him on Friday night, and I thought his black eye looked really gross. But that’s probably just me – I’m not very good with those kinds of things. I’m so glad to hear he’s doing well! It must be hard for him not to be able to do physical activity for so long. :(
Lauren

Another great post!!! Thanks!!! I love all these back stories, I think I can better understand why Torres is now on the team, with our speedsters, he can be a great example for them to learn from and just pick up things by osmosis.

Saw Martinez on TV, just amazing that he is as well as he is, knock on wood. I wish him a speedy recovery! I look forward to his return to the team, though I’m not sure what will happen in the bullpen, he could end up in AAA.

Talking about batting,What is it with giants lead off hitter going 0-4 with 3 k’s, 4 lob and a dismal batting average? Is it time for a bit of a shake up in the batting order ?It’s still a bit early in the season but I think the line up needs a shake up. I was at the park last week when Tim had 13 K’s and got no run support. The next day pitching staff continued to ring up the K’s but again got little run support. They were lucky to squeek out a win that day. Pitchers era’s continue to drop but so do most of the teams batting average ! Time to move a few folks around the batting order and try to get more life out of an inning and string togeather more hits. Keeping the faith in Monterey, GO GIANTS !

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