In Monday’s 5-3 loss to Columbus Lehigh Valley outfielder Nick Williams ended an 0-for-4 night with a grounder back to the pitcher. Frustration with coming up short for his team seemed to be displayed and urgency was missing from his stride heading toward first base and heading back to the dugout. He was immediately removed from the game and benched for the IronPigs’ following game. It was his second benching for such an issue this month.
The 22-year-old standout, who was acquired from Texas as part of last summer’s Cole Hamels trade, missed two games just a couple weeks back when he was benched for a lack of urgency on the base paths as well.
While Williams initially played coy and told media members following Monday’s game that he received no explanation for being pulled from that night’s contest and then asserted during a Comcast SportsNet interview on Tuesday that he felt other players would have done the same thing, he was more ready to own up on Wednesday, taking responsibility for his perceived issues.
“I just made a mistake, you gotta learn from it,” Williams stated. “You know, just take the punishment. I’m only human. I make mistakes. Everyone just– I’m not perfect. No one is, so you know it’s just a learning curve and (I’ll) just try to get back out there and help the team.”
According to the lefty batting slugger, seeing the attention that questionable efforts can draw in the media and from the fan base seems to have really forced the seriousness of the situation to set in.
“It’s just really something that didn’t really ring my mind until it’s really, like, put out there,” Williams explained. “You know, it’s just– I feel embarrassed for it and I don’t like it. I don’t want to be labeled as that ’cause I feel like I’m a great teammate and a great player and I feel like I’m good to fans.”
Williams has been a great contributor for the IronPigs all season, posting a .288 average with seven homers and 38 RBI in 68 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Praised for being a five-tool guy that can contribute to the game in so many ways, Williams and his hustle concerns may remind fans of the Phillies’ all-time hits leader, who also was a very talented player that didn’t always show the greatest levels of exertion on the playing field: Jimmy Rollins.
“Jimmy’s a great dude and I feel like on and off the field he was a very respectful person,” Williams said, asserting a quality that he plans to display toward the game, his coaches and those watching more often.
It’s a safe bet that a hefty majority of Phils fans would take another Jimmy Rollins in the team’s lineup going forward.