The player a Houston Astros scout called "the mystery man" recently has apparently decided to stick with football.
I say apparently because Ohio State cornerback Devon Torrence has been elusive lately, to say the least, even to the Astros, the organization that drafted him in the summer of 2007.
An Ohio State spokesperson said she saw Torrence on campus Sunday night, and assumed that meant he was staying in Columbus this summer. Summer quarter classes began today.
Torrence, an outfielder from Canton, spent parts of the past two summers playing for the class-A Greeneville, Tenn., Astros. Frankly, he was miserable at baseball, hitting just .150 combined over those short seasons, striking out 101 times in 206 at-bats.
This spring, his baseball agent, Joe Speed, was frustrated and annoyed when I contacted him about Torrence, telling me Torrence had failed to return numerous phone calls. He had no idea what Torrence's plans were.
I spoke briefly to Torrence at that point. He told me he still wasn't sure what he was doing, that he still had to talk to some people. We agreed that I would check back with him in a week or so.
Repeated messages to him since then have not been returned.
Meanwhile, I reached the Astros scout that signed him -- Nick Venuto -- who sounded just like Speed, frustrated and clueless as to what Torrence planned to do. Venuto called him "the mystery man" and pretty much had washed his hands of the whole deal.
So the bottom line is Torrence appears to have chosen football over baseball, which probably is the right move, considering he already is a junior, and he is pushing Andre Amos for a starting cornerback job. Missing workouts might have allowed Amos to solidify the spot.
But it also seems Torrence didn't handle the situation very well. Is it a big deal? Nope, pretty typical for a conflicted young man who in my opinion, loves the game of baseball and is having a hard time dealing with giving it up.