6/25/2013 8:08 P.M. ET
Rays have confidence in Torres late in games
By Sam Strong / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays manager Joe Maddon's starter, Jeremy Hellickson, had thrown seven innings of one-hit ball against one of the hottest lineups in Major League Baseball and his standard back-end relievers had each thrown two days in a row.
But Maddon wasn't concerned when it was time to hand the ball to the bullpen against the Blue Jays in Monday's eighth inning. He had left-hander Alex Torres in his back pocket.
Torres did allow his first earned run since Sept. 22, 2011 -- breaking a 25-inning scoreless streak that marked the second longest in Rays history -- but he got out of the inning and the Rays went on to win, 4-1.
"Torres was ready," Maddon said after the game. "Torres was really good. He pitched really, really well. You look at the one run, replay the tape. He pitched well."
He struck out Maicer Izturis before he allowed Emilio Bonifacio to single and walked Mark DeRosa. Another single from Melky Cabrera loaded the bases. Just when Jose Bautista appeared primed to spark a comeback, Torres induced a ground-ball out. He finished off the inning by getting Edwin Encarnacion to fly out to right field.
Torres spent all of last season in the Minor Leagues. He was called up from Triple-A Durham this year to make two appearances in May before being optioned, and was recalled again in June.
"The confidence I have right now is awesome," Torres said. "I feel so great right now. My arm feels good. I know what I'm doing when I make a bad pitch. I'm loose. I have a plan every time I make a pitch."
Torres was starting games for Durham last season and was used in the middle innings earlier this year, but recently, the Rays are using him in the later parts of games.
The next step for Torres is pitching more frequently. He has never thrown on back-to-back days in the Major Leagues. Maddon said Torres is "very close" to pitching in consecutive games.
"It's all about leverage moments, and he's indicated to us that he can get hitters out in tight moments," Maddon said Tuesday. "I don't think it's a stretch to put him out there. He's processing the moment very well."
Gomes feels great day after first rehab start
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays reliever Brandon Gomes was back on the mound Monday in a rehab appearance for Class A Charlotte for the first time since straining his right lat on May 7.
Gomes started the game -- his first start since 2008 -- but threw just 11 pitches in one inning, allowing one hit and striking out one.
"I felt good, but more importantly, I feel great today," Gomes said Tuesday. "Very minimal soreness and no pain whatsoever in the lat."
Gomes will throw another inning on Thursday and plans to make a third appearance in Charlotte on Saturday, if all goes according to plan.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he needs to see that Gomes "feels well" and that "the numbers look right on the gun" before he comes off the disabled list. Gomes is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 11 2/3 innings this season
• Closer Fernando Rodney saved consecutive games for the second time this month on Monday and hasn't blown a save since May 25. Maddon suggested he may have been "emotionally tired" earlier this season from participating in the World Baseball Classic, but added, "he's getting back into being Fernando."
• Fans at Tropicana Field quickly warmed up to recent callup Wil Myers during his home debut on Monday. One sign read "Wil-ville," while another fan begged Myers to hit it to a target drawn on a poster. Instead, Myers slammed a 422-foot solo home run off of the restaurant in center field to become the third Ray to homer in his first home at-bat, joining Terry Shumpert (March 31, 2003) and Joe Dillon (May 30, 2009).
"The fans were great," Myers said. "They were very welcoming and it was really cool to be out there in front of them."
Sam Strong is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.