Andres Torres burst onto the scene for the Giants in 2010, and was a big part of the team’s first World Series title since moving to San Francisco. He hit .268 with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs atop the lineup to set the table for the heart of the order.
Already 32 years old at the time, Torres was somewhat of a phenomenon — a journeyman minor-leaguer finally getting an extended opportunity with a competing club and thriving.
Torres couldn’t match that success in 2011, hitting .221 with four homers and 19 RBIs for the Giants. He was part of a trade the following offseason to the New York Mets for fellow center fielder Angel ?Pagan.
“[New York is a] different city, fans are different,” Torres said of his season on the East Coast. “But you know, it’s baseball so everywhere you go you have to play.”
Torres struggled with injuries and had an up-and-down season with the Mets, but signed a one-year, $2 million contract to come back to San Francisco and the team that gave him a chance to begin with.
“That’s why I come back, to have a better season,” Torres said. “I struggled for the last two years, but I just have to come back. You know, we fall and we have to go forward.”
Torres, 35, is slated to split duties in left field to open up the season with Gregor Blanco, who secured a roster spot in 2012 with a strong spring.
After a sluggish start in spring training due to an oblique strain that kept him from playing, Torres finished Cactus League action batting .262. He said it was just like any other spring to him, but may have been putting a little extra pressure on himself. Torres snapped a bat over his knee March 11 after striking out for the second time that day.
The normally mild-mannered Torres said his emotions got to him a little bit.
“I was pissed,” he said. “I was mad a little bit. You know, but that happens.”
While the Giants surged to their second World Series title in San Francisco last season, Torres kept in touch with his friends on the team, and was watching the whole ?way.
“I knew they were going to the playoffs, I knew they were going to do good, because I know the team, the pitching, the way they play,” Torres said. “They are an amazing team. I was looking at them.”
Torres said he felt a little bit like he missed out and he should have been celebrating with the team ?Oct. 28 when the Giants made history in Detroit, sweeping the Tigers for the franchise’s seventh championship. But he was mostly happy for all of his friends.
Even before Opening Day, Torres has already been embraced by fans and was welcomed back every time he took the field in Scottsdale, Ariz., where the Giants play their spring home games.
As most players keep their heads down and stick to business among cheering fans, Torres always looks up and acknowledges those who call to him and gives them a smile or a wave in response.
“They love me here, I love them too,” Torres said. “Everybody welcomes me, all the fans tell me how much they need me, and that’s something I really respect. And I told them I miss them too a lot. Believe me, the best fans are here.”
Following the Giants’ 2010 World Series run, Andres Torres struggled ?in New York, but has returned to San Francisco after one year away.
Season Team Avg. HR RBI SB
2010 Giants .268 16 63 26
2011 Giants .221 4 19 19
2012 Mets .230 3 35 13