Williams pays dividends

Returning Woody Williams from the bullpen to the starting rotation could cost the Padres just over $2 million over the course of the season.

The 39-year-old right-hander has a performance bonus clause in his contract that pays him a $67,777 bonus for each start up to 30 on the season. The performances are added to a $5 million base.

Edged out for the last spot in the Padres rotation during spring training by Dewon Brazelton, Williams was getting none of his bonus money while working out of the bullpen to open the season.

But when left-hander Shawn Estes went on the disabled list April 5 with a strained flexor tendon in his pitching elbow, Williams was moved back into the rotation. He had made three starts since -- totalling $203,331.


But if Williams pitches like he did Friday night against the Mets, the performance bonuses could be a bargain.

Williams allowed one run (a homer by former Toronto teammate Carlos Delgado) on four hits over eight innings in a game the Padres won in the 14th by a 2-1 score. Williams threw 108 pitches in his longest outing since June 26, 2004, when he was pitching for St. Louis.

"That felt good," said Williams, who lowered his ERA as a starter to 3.32. And while he is only 1-0, the Padres have won all three of his starts.

"I have to admit I'm really enjoying this season," said Williams. "This might be the most enjoyable time I've had in baseball."

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