When pitcher Carlos Torres was told by his Triple-A Charlotte coaches Richard Dotson and Chris Chambliss that he wasn’t going to make his scheduled start Sunday, the ultra-competitive Torres let out a big smile.
See, the bad news was accompanied by the best news of his professional baseball career: You’re headed to the bigs.
Torres, a 26-year-old Aptos High alum, will make a spot start Wednesday for the Chicago White Sox, who host the defending American League champion Tampa Bay Rays at 5:11 p.m. Pacific time.
“I’m excited,” said Torres, hours after arriving in Chicago on Tuesday evening. “Not many people can say they’ve pitched in a major league baseball game.”
Torres temporarily replaces John Danks in the starting rotation, with Danks sidelined by a blister and circulation issues at the tip of his left index finger.
Torres credits his father Jose Oscar Torres, who he hasn’t seen in more than 10 months.
“I’ve dedicated my whole career to my father,” he said. “This game is for him and anyone in Santa Cruz who might be watching or listening.”
In Triple-A this season, Torres, a 15th round selection in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, has posted an 8-4 record with a 2.20 ERA. In 98 innings, he has allowed just 72 hits while recording 96 strikeouts and 38 walks.
“Torres has done a great job,” White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told mlb.com. “He’s the next guy in line, and everybody feels he’s the best selection to come up here and help us. He has a good fastball. I saw him pitch on TV, and I liked the location on his fastball. He has a nice curve and cutter. He’s a deserving kid who has worked hard in our system.”
After hearing of his call-up, Torres said he first called his daughter Ava Ayn Wesley, who is 1 year, 9 months old.
“I don’t think she comprehended what I was saying,” he said.
Then he called several of his home boys from his heyday at Aptos: Jared Pierini, Isaac Dixon, Austin Mills and Mike Simpson, all of whom have flown out to Chicago to attend his game today.
“I just want to throw as many innings as possible with as few runs and put us in position to win,” Torres said. “I want to prove something and get another call at the end of the year.”
Asked which hitters in the Rays’ lineup he is eager to face, Torres said: “They’re the defending AL champion. It’s pretty much the whole lineup.”
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