Rays Winter Ball Recap: Alex Torres Rolls for Zulia

By Robbie Knopf

Winter Ball can be a nice way to make up innings. Most of the time we think of that in terms of a player coming off of an injury. For Alex Torres, however, he is still going in the Venezuelan Winter League because he spent the second half of 2013 pitching in relief after being used to 140 innings a year. The likelihood is that Torres is back in the bullpen next year. But as we know, the Rays always like to keep their options upon.

Dominican Winter League: Aguilas Cibaenas 3, Gigantes del Cibao 2 (10 innings)

Hector Luna had his third straight multi-hit game for the Aguilas, going 2 for 5 with a double as he continues to be an extremely difficult out. For Cibao, Jhonny Nunez tossed 0.2 perfect innings, but Ramon Ramirez did not have the same luck, allowing the game-ending run in the bottom of the 10th. Both have had decent stints in the DWL, though, with Nunez’s ERA standing at 3.12 and Ramirez’s at 2.81.

Mexican Pacific League: Mayos de Navojoa 5, Venados de Mazatlán 1

Jon Weber has caught fire, and that was a scary thought for the Venados. After they had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the 5th, Weber came back with an RBI single to tie the game at 1. Then 2 innings later, Weber came through with a huge 2-out single in the 7th to give the Mayos a 2-1 lead, and they never looked back. Weber went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI and a run scored, notching multiple RBIs for the second straight game. Weber has been a feared hitter in the MPL circuit for years now, and it looks like he is getting back to that now. Henry Mateo went 1 for 4 in the loss for Mazatlán.

Venezuelan Winter League: Leones del Caracas 5, Aguilas del Zulia 3 (11 innings)

The Aguilas found a way to lose this game, but Alex Torres gave them every chance to win it. Torres went 5.2 innings allowing 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 7 while walking 2. Torres’ control has forsaken him at time this winter–he walked 4 batters in his last two starts–but on Thursday, he pitched exactly like the quality big league pitcher we know him to be. Considering his 18-12 strikeout to walk ratio in 4 starts and 16.1 innings pitched, Torres is not making a resounding audition for a rotation spot, but the innings are big for two reasons: the Rays want him to be stretched out to throw multiple innings next year, and for Torres, he wants to do everything he can to help Zulia after they gave him a chance to start despite his horrific 2012 at Triple-A.