SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Last week, Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley pulled left-handed reliever Alex Torres aside and told him that instead of appearing in a game, the two were going to work on some things in terms of his command.
"We've cleaned up some things, mostly with his release point," Balsley said. "As we move forward, I think you're going to see more strikes."
It's been a whirlwind spring for Torres, who was acquired from the Rays in January and then arrived in Arizona late because of visa issues in his native Venezuela.
He's been trying to catch up ever since -- maybe too much.
"I think maybe he has a little too much, especially since he was behind everyone else," Balsley said. "And he's a competitor. I don't think he can down-shift. He's a max-effort guy. That's fine."
Manager Bud Black saw the same things early with Torres, who had his best outing with the team on Sunday, as he struck out three over 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Rangers. He lowered his ERA from 13.50 to 10.50 in the process, while showing his best command of the spring.
"It looked like he was trying to force the velocity," Black said. "For a younger pitcher who comes to a new team, there's always that feeling of wanting to impress, get your new teammates to appreciate the new player, validate the trade."
Torres even admitted to trying a little too hard early on.
"Sometimes we're trying to do more than we know we should do," the pitcher said. "And sometimes we try to overthrow and that's what happens and everything gets out of control."