Two Debuts, Rehab Highlight Reading's Night

Jake Thompson and Nick Williams will join major league veteran Chase Utley in the lineup tonight for the Reading Fightin Phils for their game in Trenton. The game marks the debut of both Thompson and Williams in the Phillies organization and Utley's second game on his rehab assignment.

It's been a long and very strange week for Jake Thompson and Nick Williams, who were acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Cole Hamels deal. The deal was agreed upon a week ago, but didn't become official until Friday. Now, Thompson and Williams are both set to make their debut in the Phillies organization, with Williams playing in the outfield and Thompson taking the mound against the Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.

In a weird juxtaposition, Thompson and Williams will be joined by veteran Chase Utley, who will make his second rehab appearance on his way back from an ankle injury that plagued him since spring training. Utley served as the DH for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Sunday and went 2-for-4. He'll play at least tonight and tomorrow night with Reading before the Phillies make a decision on the next course of action for him.

Utley hit just .179 in 65 games with the Phillies this season. His spring training work got off to a late start because of a sore ankle that was supposedly not anything that would linger or hamper him once the season began. Instead, Utley admitted when he went on the DL that the ankle has been a problem all season long, but that it feels much better since he took five weeks off and rehabbed the ankle.

Rather than DHing tonight, Utley is starting at second base for the Fightins, and batting third.

Williams, who starts in center field for Reading, and will serve as their leadoff hitter, was hitting .299 with 13 home runs and ten stolen bases at Double-A Frisco when he was traded. The 21-year old, who can play all three outfield spots, currently leads the Texas League in total bases (181) and ranks second in hits (113) while posting a .341 batting average with runners in scorer position.

Thompson, 21, gets the start for Reading, which will be his first in eight days. In his last start, he allowed six earned runs in six innings against Midland. Thompson was a Texas League All-Star and was 6-6 with a 4.72 ERA in 17 starts for Frisco this season. Last season, Thompson was a combined 10-5 with a 3.12 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) with 130 strikeouts in 129.2 innings in the Detroit and Texas farm systems.

Williams played in the Futures Game with Reading shortstop J.P. Crawford and Thompson played in the Pan-Am Games with Reading starter Zach Eflin.

Also tonight, Jerad Eickhoff, who also came over in the Cole Hamels trade, makes his debut with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs as their starting pitcher.


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