Former Giant Torres helping DR players succeed

Former Giant Torres helping DR players succeed

Figuratively speaking, Salomon Torres is pitching an ongoing complete game. His labor hasn't ended, but it has brought him fulfillment.

Torres, who began his professional career with the Giants, runs three training complexes for Minor Leaguers in the Dominican Republic who are preparing to make the huge transition to playing in the United States. Torres provides not only the facilities, which are located in San Pedro de Macoris, but also the services, such as catering.

"It's like an all-inclusive hotel," he said recently during the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., where he was hoping to add a fourth client to his group that includes the Braves, Brewers and Tigers.

"I wanted to stay with the business that I know," said Torres, 43. "It's not only a business for me. It's also a passion. It's a beautiful combination between making a living and giving something back, and helping the kids along."

Some Giants fans remember Torres as the man who helped undo the team's wondrous 1993 season. San Francisco won 103 games but missed the National League Championship Series as Torres started the season finale at Los Angeles and yielded three runs in 3 1/3 innings. Given the 12-1 final score, Torres obviously was not solely to blame for the defeat that enabled Atlanta to edge the Giants by one game for the NL West title. Yet that loss remains pinned to him in the minds of numerous fans.

Torres went 3-5 with a 4.03 ERA in his 1993 rookie season, but finished with two consecutive losses in the Giants' final five games.

True to his nature, Torres copes with it. That experience and others with the Giants, he said, ultimately strengthened him.

"Even when I got to the big leagues and had rough years with the Giants -- it's well-documented -- that helped me grow into the person I am today," he said. "To understand the business. To put emotions aside. You have to perform."

Torres, who was 21 when he made his Giants debut in August 1993, may have been rushed to the Majors. Heralded as a brilliant prospect, he went 5-14 with a 5.19 ERA in 28 games (23 starts) with the Giants before they traded him to Seattle for left-hander Shawn Estes and infielder Wilson Delgado in May, 1995. Torres, who ultimately thrived as a reliever in a career that was completed in 2008, recalled his Giants tenure with a tinge of regret.

"I wish I could have done more when I was with them," he said. "But the good memories surpass the bad ones."

That's largely because Torres adored the coaches he encountered as he ascended through the Giants' system.

"I owe everything to them," he said. "I was a skinny 137-pound kid. I was very fortunate to grow up in an organization that viewed me as their kid."

Torres hopes that he can bequeath his positive experiences to more Dominican youths. He said that he began daydreaming about providing these complexes in the late 1990s.

"The facilities at that time were not up to par," he said.

Torres broke ground on his first baseball campus in 2005, one year before he led the Majors with 94 appearances for Pittsburgh. Now, the Dominican Rookie League is going strong, and Torres said that teams such as the Cubs, Mariners, Pirates and Yankees train at vastly improved sites.

Torres noted that these baseball centers have provided jobs for residents in the community, including relatives of his.

"It's been a very wonderful experience," Torres said.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.