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Torres set to resume workhorse role

Torres set to resume workhorse role

PHOENIX -- Salomon Torres looked at his time away from pitching in the early part of Spring Training as a good thing.

Not that Torres was trying to avoid the helter-skelter goings-on at this time of the baseball season, because he wasn't. But he was nursing soreness in his arm, and the rest helped.

For a man with goals like his, a strong arm is essential. Torres wants to be the workhorse of the Brewers' bullpen, a role he's played elsewhere in his Major League career.

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"Just give me the ball every day," said Torres, sitting at his locker as his Brewers teammates readied for their split-squad games on Sunday. "That's what I'm looking for. I'm ready to do it. I've done it in the past."

No argument there.

The facts bear Torres out. Few pitchers in the game have piled up as many appearances in the past decade as Torres, whose resume includes seasons in which he worked in 41, 84, 78, 94 and 56 games.

To reach any of those numbers, Torres must keep his right arm strong. Soreness slowed him down a bit; it hasn't, however, derailed his Spring Training.

The Brewers have had Torres on a strict throwing program. He said his right arm feels fine now. He's welcomed the time off because it's helped. It's allowed Torres, who will turn 36 on Tuesday, to work on his mechanics, tweaking things where needed.

"I'm feeling really, really good," he said. "My breaking balls are very sharp, the arm speed's there, the arm strength's there. I don't have to worry about trying to play catch-up."

Now, though, it's time for Torres to get back to the business of baseball, and for him, that means pitching in ballgames and not in the bullpen sessions.

"If it goes according to plan, I should be throwing next week in a game," said Torres, whom the Brewers signed in the offseason to shore up their bullpen.

He wasn't certain if his first Cactus League appearance would come on Friday, on Saturday or on Sunday, but he did have this week as a turning point in his return to the mound. It'll be then that people will see what the Brewers got for their money.

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"I'm sure once I get on the mound for the first time, I'll answer a lot of questions that has been lingering in people's minds as far as if I'm ready or not to start the season strong," Torres said.

In his own mind, he's ready to go -- and go full tilt, too. He's eager to show that to everybody. Just hand him the ball, he'll tell manager Ned Yost. Hand it to him every day.

That's what Torres said he wants.

Well, not exactly.

"When I say, 'every day,' I don't mean 162 games," he said. "I'm shooting for 80, 85 games. Two years ago, I did 94. Two years before that, I did 84.

"My goal is to go as many games as I can without jeopardizing my health."

Justice B. Hill is a senior writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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