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Sunday, August 21, 2011
Williams giddy to get another starting chance

By Blair Angulo

Jerome Williams
Jerome Williams is glad to be getting another chance after beginning his career as a "can't-miss" prospect.

ANAHEIM -- Jerome Williams has made it all the way back but admits he doesn't know how to feel. Yeah, he's as giddy as anyone could be after being called up from the minors, excited about making the start Sunday for the Angels against the Baltimore Orioles. But, while sitting in the clubhouse Saturday, Williams shook his head more than once, almost in disbelief of the road he has traveled to get here.

"It's been surreal, I don't even know," said Williams, who will make his first start in the majors since 2007. "I'm pretty much speechless right now. I just can't wait to take the mound."

The former first-round draft pick's last major league win came in 2005 and he has pitched all over the map since, with stops in Puerto Rico and Taiwan. Williams began this season with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League before the Angels signed him June 16. He was recalled Wednesday, taking the rotation spot of struggling rookie Tyler Chatwood. Once a hotshot, can't-miss prospect, Williams says his outlook has changed completely from what it was in 2003 when he made his debut at the age of 21. He wishes he knew back then what he knows now.

"When I was coming up I thought everything was handed to me," said Williams, who broke in with the San Francisco Giants. "I was a young guy and nobody was going to take my spot -- that was my thought process. And then once somebody took my spot, reality kicked in. ... Everybody says the easiest thing is to get to the big leagues and the hardest thing is to stay. It's true."

Williams says he's learned how to take care of his body and embrace every moment. His hope, obviously, is to stick with the club through the pennant race. Manager Mike Scioscia says he thinks Williams has the repertoire to make an impact.

"Guys are going to get opportunities," Scioscia said. "You hope they take advantage of it."

Said Williams, grinning from ear to ear: "I have to take this chance and roll with it. I know we're in a playoff race and I know (the coaches) have confidence in me. That's why I'm up here."

Here are lineups for Sunday's game:

Orioles

1. J.J.Hardy SS
2. Nick Markakis RF
3. Adam Jones CF
4. Vladimir Guerrero DH
5. Matt Wieters 1B
6. Robert Andino 2B
7. Felix Pie LF
8. Craig Tatum C
9. Blake Davis 3B

Angels

1. Maicer Izturis 3B
2. Peter Bourjos CF
3. Howie Kendrick 2B
4. Torii Hunter DH
5. Mark Trumbo 1B
6. Vernon Wells LF
7. Erick Aybar SS
8. Mike Trout RF
9. Bobby Wilson C