7/24/2013 8:46 P.M. ET
Torres thriving in new role as reliever
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Alex Torres has been enjoying a superlative season, having allowed just eight hits in 99 at-bats by opponents.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Torres is on target to become only the second Major League pitcher in the last 50 seasons to allow fewer than 10 hits in the first 100 at-bats against him.
In 2013, Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman allowed nine hits in the first 100 at-bats against him.
"The biggest concern [for Torres] has been command," manager Joe Maddon said. "He [used to throw] more curveballs. He was more of a breaking-ball pitcher -- everybody talked about how good his curve was. The changeup was there, but I think he's found his lot, pretty much, primarily fastball-changeup, with a curveball. So I think he's learned to identify what he does best, and he's doing it more consistently."
Maddon noted that Torres' switch from starter to reliever could also have made a difference.
"It's been fun to watch, man," he said. "This is what he was doing in the Minor Leagues. And now, all of a sudden, he's taken it out there. You can see the confidence that's going on. It's going to be hard to maintain this level, but I think he's going to be good for a long time."
Archer gets praise, advice from Schilling
BOSTON -- Chris Archer had a nice surprise on Wednesday afternoon, when he got to talk to former Major Leaguer Curt Schilling.
"The conversation I just had with him was priceless," Archer said, "because he said some pretty nice things about me on 'Baseball Tonight' and ESPN and stuff. I've never seen it, but my friends and family have told me. And that's an honor. I don't know all of his accolades. I remember watching him at the end of his career, and he was super-impressive.
"And we have guys on our team who have pitched as long as he did. So I look up to [Kyle] Farnsworth and Jamey Wright for staying healthy, keeping up with their routine. And to get praise from an outside source, who played so long and did so well, it's honoring."
Schilling also offered Archer a word of caution.
"He reminded me that I'm doing well now, but I still have so much room for improvement," he said. "And I think we need that. We need somebody. I have somebody at home to keep me in check for sure, and on the team. But coming from him ... Making sure I remain humble, to realize that I'm pitching well but I haven't tapped my potential yet.
"He said he always felt like he could do better. His career was incredible, but he said, 'I was always striving to get better.' So for me, my rookie year in the big leagues, having a small taste of success, hearing that from him is encouraging. Like, 'Hey, I can do better. Don't break the routine. Stay on the path. Stay on course.' It was a good conversation."
Maddon gets a look at Longoria from two-hole
BOSTON -- Evan Longoria has hit safely in six straight contests and has three homers in his last five games after hitting only one home run in his previous 18, hitting .136 during that span.
Nevertheless, manager Joe Maddon said Longoria is "still not clicking on all cylinders."
"He's hit the long ball, but the consistency with the hard contact has not been present," Maddon said. "I don't really see anything awkward from the side regarding his mechanics or anything like that. It's just got to be what he's seeing or feeling or looking for. I didn't necessarily see any expansion recently. He's just kind of missing his pitch a little bit."
Hoping to give Longoria a little jump-start, Maddon moved Longoria from his usual third spot in the batting order to the second slot for Wednesday night's game against the Red Sox.
"Just trying to un-lodge him a bit by putting him in the two-hole," Maddon said. "Hopefully, he's going to see a different group of pitching. It's kind of like rearranging the chairs on the deck; see if it presents differently. I know he's hit a couple of homers, but I really want to get him unearthed and rolling in the right direction. … He's going to be behind Desmond [Jennings], in front of [Ben Zobrist], and you've got [Wil] Myers coming after that. So we'll just see what happens."
Maddon added that if Jennings had not been hitting the way he has been lately -- since returning to the leadoff spot on July 1, he has hit .333 -- he would have put Longoria in the leadoff spot.
"But listen, he's been doing better," Maddon added. "It's not like he's been doing badly. He's hitting his home runs. The last seven days, the numbers have gotten a lot better. But [to get] that overall consistency we're accustomed to, [we'll] just give him a different look."
• James Loney collected his 1,000th career hit with a double in the second inning on Tuesday night, making him the third player to attain the milestone in a Rays uniform, joining Carlos Pena (2012) and Carl Crawford (2008), and the fifth to reach the thousand-hit plateau as a member of the Rays (Fred McGriff, 2,000; Wade Boggs, 3,000).
• Wil Myers recorded his fifth straight multihit game on Tuesday night, tying Delmon Young (2007) for the Rays' rookie record. Myers is the only rookie to homer at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park this season.
• The Rays play the most road games in the Major Leagues after the All-Star break (38), beginning with their current 10-game road trip to Toronto, Boston and New York.
• Taylor Guerrieri, the Rays' No. 2 prospect as ranked by MLB.com, underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday, a procedure the club says went well. Guerrieri, the Rays' top pick (24th overall) in the 2011 Draft, was 6-2 with a 2.01 ERA in 14 starts with Class A Bowling Green before going on the disabled list on July 21.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.