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Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Jerome Williams back in majors

By Mark Saxon
ESPNLosAngeles.com

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- After four years of criss-crossing the planet trying to get back to the major leagues, Jerome Williams finally made it.

The former first-round pick was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on Wednesday by the Los Angeles Angels and likely will take over the rotation spot of struggling rookie Tyler Chatwood. Williams made the majors with the San Francisco Giants at age 21 in 2003 and went 23-29 with a 4.25 ERA over 71 starts with the Giants, Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals.

Williams' last major league start came on May 15, 2007. His last major league win came in 2005. Since 2007, Williams has pitched in two independent leagues, in Puerto Rico and in Taiwan. He began this season with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League before the Angels signed him June 16.

He was 7-2 with a complete game and a 3.91 ERA in 10 starts for Salt Lake.

"After my second shot at indy ball this year, I thought I might not be playing anymore," Williams said. "I just had to fight through it and believe it might happen, and it happened."

A rotator cuff injury caused the Nationals to release Williams four years ago, but he also battled some weight problems and the perception among teams that he didn't work hard. Williams, a native of Hawaii, said he weighed as much as 270 pounds at one point in his major league career, about 70 pounds more than when he debuted.

Williams, 29, said his wife and three children motivated him to keep trying.

"He came all the way up from about as low as you can get in a professional career to rebound and get an opportunity, so we're excited to see how his stuff plays," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Chatwood (6-9, 4.35 ERA) lasted just two innings in the Angels' game against the first-place Texas Rangers on Tuesday night. Scioscia said the team is considering replacing him with Williams -- presuming it doesn't need Williams in long relief in one of the next two games -- starting Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles.

Outfielder Reggie Willits was designated for assignment to make room on the Angels' 40-man roster for Williams.

Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com.