Torres turning it loose on basepaths for Mets

Torres turning it loose on basepaths for Mets

LOS ANGELES -- The Mets thought they had lost most of their baserunning prowess over the offseason, when stolen base experts Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan hooked on with the Marlins and Giants, respectively. But after a slow start to the season that included a calf injury and a massive slump at the plate, Andres Torres has proved that he, too, can swipe a bag or two.

Or six.

With another stolen base Thursday, Torres has at least one steal in each of his last five games, going 6-for-7 in his attempts and racking up more steals than anyone in baseball over that span. It's precisely the type of production the Mets hoped they would receive when slotting Torres into the leadoff spot this spring.

"Obviously the biggest part is he's getting hot," manager Terry Collins said. "He's getting some walks. He's getting some singles. He's getting on base. He's creating runs."

As a result, Collins is beginning to play Torres more regularly, slotting him in center field Friday against Dodgers right-hander Aaron Harang. When Torres is right, his manager knows, he brings an offensive dimension to the club that no one else does.

"Earlier in the year I think when his leg was bothering him, he was very cautious to run," said Collins, who gives Torres the freedom to choose when he wants to steal. "He's 100 percent healthy now, so I think when he gets on base he's not hesitant about running."