Williams Ready for Chicago Debut

Jerome Williams is set to make his Chicago debut tonight in Milwaukee. He is expected to make two road starts in the next week against two Cub rivals before taking the mound at Wrigley Field.

"I feel good right now," Williams said. "Hopefully I can do something to help the team out."

Williams had a brief but successful stint at Triple-A Iowa after being traded from San Francisco on May 28. In four appearances with the I-Cubs, the 23-year-old Williams was 1-1 with a 2.22 ERA. He struck out 17 batters while allowing six walks, and lasted at least six innings in all four starts.

"I'm ready to go back out there and face some major league hitting and help the team get some wins," Williams added.

Williams only pitched in four major league games for the Giants this season before being sent to Triple-A Fresno and then traded. His last big league action came on April 24, against the Brewers.

"I feel confident and strong enough to go out there and pitch," Williams said. "It feels like a long time ago since I pitched in a major league game."

With Kerry Wood and Mark Prior still on the disabled list, the Cubs have been diligently trying to find an answer for the latter part of their starting rotation. But Williams' arrival could provide stability in the rotation past 2005.

At the very least, tonight's outing will reunite him with Dusty Baker, whom Williams sees every summer at a baseball camp that Baker runs in Hawaii.

"It's something I feel good about," Williams said. "I'm happy I can be with Dusty and help him out."

The first few weeks of Williams' tenure in the Cubs' organization have worked out as planned. The Honolulu native has gotten himself in better game shape and impressed the front office in a short period of time.

And the process of keeping Williams at Triple-A following the trade has benefited everyone involved, he tells Inside The Ivy.

"I love the way the Cubs approached it," Williams said, "and I'm very happy. I just want to give them a good outing. I feel awesome being with these new guys ... hopefully we will have a good relationship. I'm looking forward to meeting new people and getting acquainted with everybody."

Tonight will no doubt feature a large contingent of Cub fans on hand as usual whenever the team invades Miller Park. And this Sunday will be an even more intense atmosphere, as Williams is scheduled to pitch game three of the Cubs' cross-town series with the first place White Sox.

"I've never looked that far ahead," Williams said. "It's kind of like the Giants-Dodgers rivalry. Now that you mention it, I can't wait. I can imagine the atmosphere and how it's going to be. I know it's going to be crazy. I'm just going to go out there and try to win."

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