SEATTLE -- Had Jerome Williams' career unfolded as the Giants intended, he would be part of their formidable starting rotation.Instead, Williams has established himself with the Los Angeles Angels, the sixth Major League organization to employ him since the Giants traded him and right-hander David Aardsma to the Cubs for LaTroy Hawkins on May 28, 2005. After struggling with weight issues and injuries that kept him out of the big leagues from 2008-10, Williams has settled into the Angels' starting rotation and will oppose Matt Cain in Monday night's Interleague series opener. "We're going to beat him, but we're happy for him," Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti said. San Francisco's first-round selection in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft, Williams began his professional career as a highly touted prospect.
"Jerome was going to be a big league pitcher. So it was a matter of putting all his stuff in order and getting him ready for it," Righetti said.Williams went 17-14 with a 3.93 ERA from 2003-05 with the Giants, but fell out of favor partly due to poor physical conditioning, which prompted his departure in the Cubs trade. Ankle and rotator-cuff injuries threatened to derail his career while he was pitching for Washington in 2007. He gradually proved that his arm was sound after he signed with the Angels last year.
Giants won't skip Lincecum's next start
SEATTLE -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy unequivocally stated Sunday morning that Tim Lincecum will remain in the starting rotation, despite the right-hander's descending fortunes."I know the results haven't been great for Timmy, but you see too many good signs," said Bochy, who discussed the Lincecum issue with general manager Brian Sabean and pitching coach Dave Righetti. "We feel at this point the best thing is to let him fight through this." Indicating that the Giants would indeed move Lincecum to the bullpen or order him to skip a start if that were the braintrust's preference, Bochy added, "If we felt different, we'd do it." Bochy said that Lincecum's healthy, removing any physical reasons for bumping him from his next scheduled start Friday at Oakland. The Giants have a scheduled off-day Thursday, which conceivably would enable them to skip Lincecum while keeping the other members of the rotation on their normal four days' rest. Lincecum, the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, owns a 2-8 record. The Giants are 2-12 when he starts, having lost in his last nine appearances. His 6.19 ERA is the highest among NL pitchers who have accumulated enough innings to qualify for the league's statistical rankings. But, Bochy said, "This kid's fighting. He's doing all he can to come out of this. Each start he makes, you're hoping that's the start" that turns around his season. Bochy acknowledged that temporarily removing Lincecum from the rotation was considered.
"All these things we talked about," he said. "Any time any player is having a tough time, you try to think of things that would benefit them most. That's what we have to come up with."
Cain putting perfect thoughts aside
SEATTLE -- Matt Cain isn't dwelling on becoming the next Johnny Vander Meer.Every pitcher who throws a no-hitter -- or, in Cain's case, a perfect game -- approaches his next start laden with expectations of repeating the feat. Only one pitcher has accomplished that, and that was Vander Meer, who did so with Cincinnati in 1938. Though Cain admitted that he'll go to the mound Monday against the Los Angeles Angels with the awareness that he retired 27 consecutive Houston Astros last Wednesday, he won't let those thoughts overwhelm him. "It's in your mind, obviously," Cain said Sunday. "But I'm not going to think about that. It's a hard thing to duplicate." Cain threw a season-high 125 pitches against the Astros, but he expects to be at full strength against the Angels.
"Same as normal," he said. "We don't get in the 120s that often, but we do it once in a while."
He last threw 125 pitches on Aug. 23, 2010, while working eight innings in an 11-2 victory over the Reds and exceeded 120 four other times that year. His 2011 high was a 118-pitch effort in a July 10 game against the Mets.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.