Jerome Williams: Mixed Emotions

Jerome Williams is enthusiastic after being traded to the Cubs, but the right-hander tells "ITI" that he has mixed feelings about leaving San Francisco after six-plus years in the Giants' organization.

"I was shocked," Williams said. "I had a feeling that I was trade bait. I wasn't pitching up to my capabilities. I look at it as though I got a new opportunity with a different team. I was fortunate to be traded to Chicago ... it's a great city. I want to come here and do the best I can."

Williams first came up to the major leagues in 2003 and flourished with a 7-5 record and 3.30 ERA in 21 starts. Last season, he pitched for the Giants from start to finish and won 10 games while logging 129.1 innings. The Hawaii native missed two months late in the season after having his right elbow scoped due to "loose bodies" and a bone spur.

Williams returned from the injury on September 30 and pitched seven solid innings to lead the Giants to a key 4-1 win over the Padres with three games left in the season. The Giants did not make the playoffs, but Williams' last start of the year was an impressive one.

"They (the Giants) were happy with my performance," Williams said. "I never thought I would pitch like that. It was a big game."

By trading LaTroy Hawkins to the Giants, the Cubs have gotten two young minor leaguers with marginal major league exposure: Williams and David Aardsma, who are both 23.

In Williams' 43 starts in the majors, he never pitched against the Cubs, which makes this new era even more thrilling for him.

"As a player, I never faced the Cubs. Now I'm one of them," Williams said. "I'm excited about the possibility of going to Wrigley Field and checking out the atmosphere there while having some success."

Williams was a first round pick in 1999 by the Giants. Despite never playing for Dusty Baker, Williams is familiar with the Cubs' skipper from offseason baseball camps that Baker assisted with in Hawaii.

"I've met him. We'd have a good talk almost every year," Williams said.

"He's awesome; he comes to Hawaii and likes to help the kids out. He's a great guy who is very straight forward. That's what I like."

Within two days of trading for Williams, Baker had already voiced concerns about the pitcher's weight. Williams is listed at 240 pounds on the Iowa Cubs' roster, and Baker would like to see him get in better shape before he makes his Chicago debut.

"He has spoken to me about it (the weight loss), and I will take it into consideration," Williams said. "I had that same problem in San Francisco. I just need to work my butt off and prove to everyone that I belong here."

In Williams' first Iowa outing, he pitched six innings, giving up two earned runs and eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts against Oklahoma on Memorial Day Monday. On Sunday, he got his first win as a Cub, beating Memphis while throwing six innings. He surrendered two runs on three hits to Redbird hitters.

The four pitches you will see most when Williams takes the mound are a 92-93 mph fastball, a slider, curveball and changeup.

"I like to keep people off balance," Williams said. "I want to try and mix it up every time I go out there."

Williams has made eight starts overall this season and has compiled a 2-4 record. The minor leagues are obviously not where he would prefer to be, but Williams is taking this season in stride.

"If I keep on doing what I'm doing right now, hopefully I can get a chance to go up to the big leagues and help the ballclub soon," Williams said.

Many airline reservations have already been made this season between Des Moines and Chicago, and it's only early June. With the fourth and fifth starter roles on the Cubs' big league roster still in limbo, Williams figures to get a chance some time this season. If Sergio Mitre or John Koronka struggle, Williams could make his Chicago debut soon.

"Being in the minors does not bother me at all," Williams said. "I just want to stay consistent and get outs every time I'm out there."


Northsiders Report Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\"I was shocked,\" Williams said. \"I had a feeling that I was trade bait. I wasn't pitching up to my capabilities. I look at it as though I got a new opportunity with a different team. I was fortunate to be traded to Chicago ... it's a great city. I want to come here and do the best I can.\"

\r\n\r\nWilliams first came up to the major leagues in 2003 and flourished with a 7-5 record and 3.30 ERA in 21 starts. Last season, he pitched for the Giants from start to finish and won 10 games while logging 129.1 innings. The Hawaii native missed two months late in the season after having his right elbow scoped due to \"loose bodies\" and a bone spur.

\r\n\r\nWilliams returned from the injury on September 30 and pitched seven solid innings to lead the Giants to a key 4-1 win over the Padres with three games left in the season. The Giants did not make the playoffs, but Williams' last start of the year was an impressive one.

\r\n\r\n\"They (the Giants) were happy with my performance,\" Williams said. \"I never thought I would pitch like that. It was a big game.\"

\r\n\r\nBy trading LaTroy Hawkins to the Giants, the Cubs have gotten two young minor leaguers with marginal major league exposure: Williams and David Aardsma, who are both 23.

\r\n\r\nIn Williams' 43 starts in the majors, he never pitched against the Cubs, which makes this new era even more thrilling for him.

\r\n\r\n\"As a player, I never faced the Cubs. Now I'm one of them,\" Williams said. \"I'm excited about the possibility of going to Wrigley Field and checking out the atmosphere there while having some success.\"

\r\n\r\nWilliams was a first round pick in 1999 by the Giants. Despite never playing for Dusty Baker, Williams is familiar with the Cubs' skipper from offseason baseball camps that Baker assisted with in Hawaii.

\r\n\r\n\"I've met him. We'd have a good talk almost every year,\" Williams said.

\r\n\r\n\"He's awesome; he comes to Hawaii and likes to help the kids out. He's a great guy who is very straight forward. That's what I like.\"

\r\n\r\nWithin two days of trading for Williams, Baker had already voiced concerns about the pitcher's weight. Williams is listed at 240 pounds on the Iowa Cubs' roster, and Baker would like to see him get in better shape before he makes his Chicago debut.

\r\n\r\n\"He has spoken to me about it (the weight loss), and I will take it into consideration,\" Williams said. \"I had that same problem in San Francisco. I just need to work my butt off and prove to everyone that I belong here.\"

\r\n\r\nIn Williams' first Iowa outing, he pitched six innings, giving up two earned runs and eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts against Oklahoma on Memorial Day Monday. On Sunday, he got his first win as a Cub, beating Memphis while throwing six innings. He surrendered two runs on three hits to Redbird hitters.

\r\n\r\nThe four pitches you will see most when Williams takes the mound are a 92-93 mph fastball, a slider, curveball and changeup.

\r\n\r\n\"I like to keep people off balance,\" Williams said. \"I want to try and mix it up every time I go out there.\"

\r\n\r\nWilliams has made eight starts overall this season and has compiled a 2-4 record. The minor leagues are obviously not where he would prefer to be, but Williams is taking this season in stride.

\r\n\r\n\"If I keep on doing what I'm doing right now, hopefully I can get a chance to go up to the big leagues and help the ballclub soon,\" Williams said.

\r\n\r\nMany airline reservations have already been made this season between Des Moines and Chicago, and it's only early June. With the fourth and fifth starter roles on the Cubs' big league roster still in limbo, Williams figures to get a chance some time this season. If Sergio Mitre or John Koronka struggle, Williams could make his Chicago debut soon.

\r\n\r\n\"Being in the minors does not bother me at all,\" Williams said. \"I just want to stay consistent and get outs every time I'm out there.\"","mobileBody":" ","skipOnMobile":true,"media":[],"dateOverride":"2005-06-06T02:00:00","authorOverride":"Scott Sabin","role":"","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:227986]","mainImage":{},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:227986]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"144","name":"Chicago 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