SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Last week, Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley pulled left-handed reliever Alex Torres aside and told him that instead of appearing in a game, the two were going to work on some things in terms of his command.
"We've cleaned up some things, mostly with his release point," Balsley said. "As we move forward, I think you're going to see more strikes."
It's been a whirlwind spring for Torres, who was acquired from the Rays in January and then arrived in Arizona late because of visa issues in his native Venezuela.
He's been trying to catch up ever since -- maybe too much.
"I think maybe he has a little too much, especially since he was behind everyone else," Balsley said. "And he's a competitor. I don't think he can down-shift. He's a max-effort guy. That's fine."
Manager Bud Black saw the same things early with Torres, who had his best outing with the team on Sunday, as he struck out three over 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Rangers. He lowered his ERA from 13.50 to 10.50 in the process, while showing his best command of the spring.
"It looked like he was trying to force the velocity," Black said. "For a younger pitcher who comes to a new team, there's always that feeling of wanting to impress, get your new teammates to appreciate the new player, validate the trade."
Torres even admitted to trying a little too hard early on.
"Sometimes we're trying to do more than we know we should do," the pitcher said. "And sometimes we try to overthrow and that's what happens and everything gets out of control."
From Army to infield: Not much rust for Moore
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- One of the more interesting players in the Padres' Minor League camp this spring arrived in Peoria, Ariz., with a pretty unique title:
Meet Clint Moore, infielder and First Lieutenant in the Army.
Moore was selected in the 31st round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft after graduating from the United States Military Academy. It was during his 60 days of leave after graduation that Moore appeared in 21 games at short-season Class A Eugene, hitting .222, before resuming his military obligation.
Moore hasn't played in an organized baseball game since then, though he's shown well in morning drills and games on the Minor League side and hasn't exhibited much rust at all.
"From the baseball side, for being out two years, he's looked pretty darn good. We're all a little shocked. He's been good to have in camp and has performed well," said Randy Smith, the Padres' vice president of player development.
"Take the baseball out of it for a minute and there's leadership there ... there's the leading by example. You want to have good players, but also have people who helped guys get to the big leagues. He could help the guy next to him reach his potential."
Moore, who is currently in the IRR (Individual Ready Reserve), has already been a platoon leader and said there's a lot of parallels between the military and baseball.
"You're part of a family here and it's the same thing in the Army," he said. "As a platoon leader, you're bonding with your guys and girls, doing training with them, you're responsible for them, their welfare and you know how they're doing day to day. You make sure everything is good with them.
"And like with baseball, it's not about you but the person to your left and right. You want to make that person better."
Moore completed his basic officer training, where he was an air defense officer skilled with patriot missile training. He later went to Ranger School, where he nearly completed the training program if it wasn't for one misstep during his Ruck March, a grueling 12-mile march with an 80-pound pack.
"I made it to mile No. 10, only to have my ankle give out," Moore said.
For two years, he didn't play a single game. While stationed at Fort Bragg, he watched as many games on television as he could. But he didn't just watch them.
"As I watched, I challenged myself to pick pitches," Moore said. "Like it was a 3-2 count, what are they throwing? That helped me. If it's a 1-0 count, what's the pitcher going to throw? It was a way to stay a little sharper. I feel that it allowed me to jump back into this pretty well."
Moore played shortstop at Army and third base for Eugene in 2011. He's been working at second base in Minor League camp. He'll likely begin the season in Arizona in extended spring training. Despite his two-year absence from the game, Moore has no regrets.
"[The Army has] made me a better person, a better leader," Moore said. "Hopefully that transitions out here onto the baseball field. It's been pretty unique. I've always wanted to follow a unique path."
• Outfielder Chris Denorfia, who has been nursing a sore right shoulder, could appear in a game in the next week, Black said Sunday. Denorfia was a late scratch from a game Thursday and hasn't played since.
• Outfielder Cameron Maybin, who suffered a ruptured left biceps tendon on March 2, has played catch in the last week and now will advance to hitting off a tee in the batting cage sometime in the next two days, Black said.