By JIM SEIMAS
After a posting a string of dominant outings the past month, pitcher Carlos Torres has earned a return ticket to the major leagues.
The New York Mets selected the contract of the 30-year-old right-hander from the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s on Saturday and optioned right-handed pitcher Greg Burke to the 51s, who compete in the Pacific Coast League.
To make room for Torres, an Aptos High alum, on the 40-man roster, the Mets designated right-handed pitcher Collin McHugh for assignment.
Torres will join the team for Sunday’s home game against the Chicago Cubs. He’ll be available for work out of the bullpen.
“It feels good to be back in the big leagues,” Torres wrote in a text. “Citi Field is a great place to play, so I’m looking forward to doing it again – this time as a Met. I’m happy that things worked out for the best.”
On Thursday, Torres – who had a June 12 opt-out date in his contract — was allowed to seek employment outside the Mets’ organization. The San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies expressed interest in Torres, noting they had a roster spot available. Their interest forced the Mets to either promote Torres to the big leagues or release him within 48 hours.
After two days of deliberation, the struggling Mets (24-39) – who sit in fourth place, 13.5 games behind division-leader Atlanta in the NL East — decided to promote Torres.
“I really wasn’t using the clause to do that,” Torres said of forcing the Mets’ hand. “It was just deciding that it was time to see what could happen after the opt out and the Mets decided not to let that happen. So I’m happy they have shown me that they like what I’m doing and wanted me to pitch in New York instead of, maybe, somewhere else.”
Torres was told by his agent that a Korean team was expressed interest in his services.
“I’m glad to be back,” said Torres, who has also pitched in Japan in 2011. “My daughter (Ava Ayn Wesley) is happy to have better insurance and I’m happy to be pitching for the team I signed with this offseason.”
Torres attempted to make the Mets roster out of spring training, but he series of poor outing led to his re-assignment to Triple-A. In Las Vegas, he also struggled early, but he has bounced back after making a series of small tweaks to his deliver.
Torres – 6-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 12 starts this season for the 51s – has won his past five starts. He delivered back-to-back complete-games outing in his last two appearances (at Fresno on June 3 and Tacoma on June 9) to earn PCL Pitcher of the Week honors.
In his past four starts, he has allowed a total of three earned runs on 15 hits in 31.2 innings while striking out 32 and walking just three.
Torres made 31 relief appearances with the Rockies last season, going 5-3 with a 5.26 ERA in 53 innings .
He also pitched for the Chicago White Sox in 2009-10.