New Center Fielder Andres Torres Keeps The Faith, Says Mets ‘Can Win’
NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Andres Torres knows about struggles.
He suffered through injuries with the Giants last season. He’s a professional baseball player who has had to manage Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Keeping the 2012 Mets in contention? Now there’s a tall order for New York’s new center fielder.
“Anything can happen,” Torres said during a conference call Wednesday, a week after the Mets acquired him from the Giants along with pitcher Ramon Ramirez for outfielder Angel Pagan. “We play together, we can win. I know people talk about things, but I believe in that.”
Torres, who turns 34 next month, has played 415 major league games over seven seasons along with 1,035 games in the minors, where he has spent time with 14 farm teams since 1998.
Coming off a World Series title with San Francisco in 2010, Torres strained his left Achilles tendon early this year and slumped to a .221 average with four homers and 19 RBIs.
A year earlier, he came back quickly from an emergency appendectomy in September and wound up at .268 with 16 homers and 63 RBIs. He was voted winner of the Giants’ “Willie Mac” Award, named after Hall of Famer Willie McCovey and given to the club’s most inspirational player by teammates, coaches and training staff.
Following the departure of Jose Reyes to Miami, Torres is likely to hit leadoff for the cash-strapped Mets.
“I admire Reyes. He’s one of the best, (most) exciting players in the game,” Torres said. “I’m working hard to be an exciting player, too. I just want to go there, to New York, bring energy and get the team pumped and do my best.”
Not eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season, Torres could bring an upbeat attitude to a team expected to face a tough year. The Mets have endured three straight losing seasons and could be headed for a fourth.
“I keep the clubhouse loose,” he said. “We just have to feel comfortable about everything in the clubhouse, just go up there and have fun.”
No matter what happens next season, Torres knows he’s dealt with greater adversity. A new documentary is coming out on how he managed his ADHD to become a World Series winner.
“It’s about helping others and how we get better, and I think it’s a great project,” Torres said.
There were 105 therapeutic use exemptions for ADHD medication in the major leagues this year, but the names are not made public by the commissioner’s office.
Torres, nicknamed “Yungo,” said he’s known about his ADHD since 2002 and has been on medication since 2007. The feature-length film, titled “Gigante,” is directed by Chusy Haney-Jardine, a Sundance Film Festival award winner.
Haney-Jardine plans to release the film within the next year.
“People look at me, all the struggles, (and) becoming world champion. I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs,” Torres said. “I really have to take it, medication, because it helps you (with) your focus and how (to) concentrate better. I think people that have this have to understand that this is a condition that you really have to pay attention (to), and the medication helps, definitely helps.”
Haney-Jardine became involved through Will Chang, a part owner of the San Francisco Giants – and controlling owner of the D.C. United soccer team.
“We started about a year ago. It’s been going in spurts,” Haney-Jardine said. “We’re still shooting some stuff.”
To give the film context, Haney-Jardine is filming what he called “fictional reality” – finding kids from Torres’ neighborhood in Puerto Rico to portray the events of Torres’ childhood.
“He came from a relatively poor family, and he has very few photographs of himself as a kid. We found like four,” the director said.
Following the trade, Haney-Jardine is altering plans to include Torres’ new baseball life with the Mets.
“I think that it’s important for the film to have closure, to show this change,” Haney-Jardine said.
NOTES: The Mets finalized their $3.5 million, one-year contract with free-agent reliever John Rauch.
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