In 2010, the San Francisco Giants relied heavily on the spark provided by Andres Torres. Entering 2011, many feared that Torres had seen his career year and would come back to earth with a thud. For the most part, he has.
Torres is scheduled to come off the disabled list on Sunday, and it should be a day of optimism for the Giants as they slowly begin to get their injured players back. Torres is in a position to carry the Giants, as they have struggled to find a lead off hitter in his absence. Can he find his 2010 magic? The Giants better hope so, as their anemic offense needs some kind of spark.
Recently, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was discussing his leadoff hitter problem and said that everything was a possibility, including using Brandon Belt in that role. Lately, he seems to have settled on Orlando Cabrera to hit in the No. 1 slot, and the groans of Giants fans could be heard all the way to Fresno's Chukchansi Park where Torres has been on a rehab assignment.
Torres' current DL stint has been more of a demotion to AAA to work on things. The "injury" he suffered was a bruised shin, which didn't prohibit him from playing in games for the Fresno Grizzlies almost immediately. He has had two weeks in which to work on getting back to the hitter that the Giants need him to be.
When a Major League hitter is struggling at the plate, it is very hard to make adjustments during a game where the pressure is great. Torres was taken out of that bubble and sent to a place where he could afford to make significant adjustments in game situations and benefit from the instant feedback.
If he has been able to somehow find his comfort zone and can bring it to San Francisco with him, this could prove to be the best DL move in the history of the San Francisco Giants. The team has no choice but to put him in center field and bat him at the top of the order. Bruce Bochy, his staff and all Giants fans can then cross their fingers and hope he starts hitting line drives all over the yard and dropping down drag bunts to get on base.
Andres Torres is a streaky hitter when he is at his best, and if he has one 2010-esque streak in him, Torres could carry the Giants into the postseason.