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Scott Williamson

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Scott Williamson

A photo of Scott Williamson.

Scott Ryan Williamson (born February 17, 1976, in Fort Polk North, Louisiana) is a right-handed relief pitcher in the Florida Marlins organization. He has played for the Cincinnati Reds (1999-2003), Boston Red Sox (2003-2004), Chicago Cubs (2005-2006), San Diego Padres (2006), and the Baltimore Orioles (2007). After a lightning-fast start: going from college to the major leagues in two years, with just five appearances at the Triple-A level and winning National League Rookie of the Year honors, Williamson's career tailed off in the mid-2000s as he suffered repeated injuries and spent long stretches on the disabled list.

Career Edit

Williamson attended Friendswood High School in Friendswood, Texas. In his senior year he posted a 0.68 ERA and was named district MVP. In college, Williamson played for first Tulane University and then Oklahoma State University. With the latter, he earned Big 12 first-team honors during the 1996-1997 school year.[1] Williamson entered the draft after the season was over and was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 9th round, 276th pick overall.

Cincinnati Reds Edit

Cincinnati assigned Williamson their rookie affiliate, the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League. Starting for Billings, Williamson went 8-2 with a 1.78 ERA, the best in the league that year.[2] For 1998 Cincinnati promoted Williamson to the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern League, bypassing Single-A altogether. In his first start for the Lookouts Williamson faced Atlanta Braves veteran John Smoltz, down with the Greenville Braves on a rehabilitation assignment. Williamson held his own, giving up two runs in six innings in a 6-5 loss. Mark Berry, Lookouts manager, praised Williamson's performance: "I was highly impressed...I expected him to be more erratic because of Smoltz, the big crowd and the whole situation. It's something he can build on."[3] Williamson would start just 18 games for the Lookouts that year after battling injuries, but at the end of the season Cincinnati promoted him to the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. Cincinnati planned to call Williamson up in September but he "stretched a tendon in the middle finger of his pitching hand" during a game for Indianapolis, ending his season.[4]

Cincinnati invited Williamson to spring training in 1999, where the combination of an impressive performance and injuries to key members of the pitching staff, including Denny Neagle and Stan Belinda, led to Williamson making the major league club despite having made just five appearances at the Triple-A level and never being on the 40-man roster.[5] Williamson made his major league debut in relief on April 5, 1999. In his rookie season with Cincinnati Williamson went 12-7 with 107 strikeouts, a 2.41 earned run average and 19 saves; made the All-Star team, and earned Rookie of the Year honors. Williamson was the first Reds player to be so honored since Chris Sabo in 1988.[6]

During the 1999-2000 off-season Williamson's name came up several times in trade talks with the Seattle Mariners, who were looking to deal Ken Griffey, Jr., but in the end Williamson remained with Cincinnati.[7][8] Williamson returned for the 2000 season but was bedeviled by injuries, including two broken toes in mid-September. He made fewer appearances than in 1999 but pitched more innings, due in part to joining the starting rotation after the All-Star break.[9]

After a lackluster spring training Cincinnati returned Williamson to the bullpen, but after two appearances went on the disabled list with a torn ligament in his shoulder. After consultation with orthopedic surgeon James Andrews Williamson underwent Tommy John surgery, ending his season. Cincinnati general manager Jim Bowden called it "Devastating, just devastating."[10] Williamson returned to the bullpen for the 2002 season and went 3-4 with a 2.92 ERA. For 2003 Williamson took over as closer and saved 21 games in 43 appearances.[11] On July 31, 2003 Cincinnati traded Williamson to the Boston Red Sox for Phil Dumatrait, Tyler Pelland and cash. The move was part of a fire sale instigated by Cincinnati management after Bowden and manager Bob Boone were fired.[12]

Boston Red Sox Edit

The New York Yankees had also been interested in Williamson; that Boston acquired him from Cincinnati was widely touted as a coup for Boston general manager Theo Epstein.[13][14][15] USA Today sportswriter Hal Bodley placed the Williamson trade in the context of Red Sox-Yankees rivalry:

The Sauerbeck-Williamson deals give the Red Sox and Epstein a measure of revenge. They were stung last winter when the Yankees outbid them in a bitter battle for Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras.[16]
The mid-season arrival of Williamson, along with Scott Sauerbeck, Jeff Suppan and Byung Hyun Kim was expected to boost an already strong Boston team to the 2003 World Series.[15]

Williamson's tenure with Boston was a troubled one: his ERA with the team was 6.20 and he pitched just 20 innings in 24 appearances. In mid-September he underwent an MRI but the result was negative.[17] As Boston entered the playoffs he shared closer duties with Mike Timlin, but neither enjoyed the reputation of New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera nor the confidence of manager Grady Little. In the American League Championship series against New York, Williamson earned saves in Games 1, 4 and 6. Nevertheless, Little left a tiring Pedro Martinez in the 8th inning of Game 7 with Boston up 5-2. Martinez gave up three runs and New York would eventually win in the 11th inning 6-5. Critics maintain that Little should have pulled Martinez in favor of Williamson or Timlin, but that their mixed record during the regular season led Little to stay with the veteran Martinez.[18][19][20] Williamson's appearances in Games 1-6 marked the first time a Boston pitcher had appeared in the first six games of a playoff series.[21]

Williamson returned to Boston in 2004 as a middle reliever and got off to a strong start (1.69 ERA in 14 appearances) before elbow tendinitis placed him on the disabled list again in late May.[22] Williamson returned in mid-June, but never felt completely healthy and went back on the DL at the beginning of July with a nerve impingement in his right forearm.[23] The return to the DL was not without controversy: Williamson, feeling pain in a game against the Yankees (which the Red Sox would go on to lose), took himself out of the game. What happened next is a matter of dispute. Contemporary media accounts claim that Boston veteran starting pitcher Curt Schilling confronted Williamson and "questioned [Williamson's] manhood." Schilling would later downplay the incident, acknowledging that he and Williamson "had words" but that Schilling never doubted that Williamson was injured. Williamson indicated that he and Schilling never patched things up and said that "Unfortunately, it happened. He's got his opinion, but it wasn't right."[24][25][26]

In August Boston placed Williamson on the 60-day disabled list as word spread that he might undergo a second "Tommy John" surgery, which would end the 2004 season and likely preclude any activity in 2005 as well.[27] Defying predictions, Williamson returned in September and finished the season with a 1.26 ERA in 28 appearances. However, he was left off the post-season roster and underwent surgery as Boston won the 2004 World Series.[28] Williamson filed for free agency at the end of the season, and departed the organization after Boston declined to offer arbitration.[29]

Chicago Cubs Edit

At the start of 2005 the Chicago Cubs signed Williamson to a minor league contract and added him to their 40-man roster, but he almost immediately went on the 60-day disabled list: in the end Williamson had undergone the second Tommy John surgery and was not yet recovered.[30] Williamson returned to the team in August but struggled with his velocity. Sportswriters wondered at the wisdom of coming back in less than 12 months without the benefit of spring training. Williamson himself said that he was "trying to find my rhythm and it's hard to do that at the big-league level."[31] Williamson eventually appeared in 17 games; his ERA, 8.68 in the beginning of September, dropped to 5.65 by the end of the season.[32] Showing its confidence in Williamson, Chicago exercised its option to bring him back for another season.[33]

Williamson made the 2006 team as a middle reliever, losing the closer's job to Ryan Dempster. Williamson had expressed a willingness to be traded if it meant taking over the closer's job for the new team.[34][35] In early June, after making 23 appearances with an ERA over 4, Williamson went back on the disabled list with tendinitis.[36] Williamson returned at the end of June and pitched in eight more games, but on July 22 Chicago traded him to the San Diego Padres for minor League pitchers Fabian Angulo and Joel Santo.[37]

San Diego Padres Edit

Williamson joined a San Diego team in first place in the National League West division, a prospect which cheered him: "Going from second-to-last to first place, that's always exciting."[38] In an interview with the Galveston County Daily News, Williamson also expressed disappointment at the way Chicago manager Dusty Baker had used him and revealed that he had considered retiring altogether. Now with San Diego, Williamson said that he was "having a lot of fun here, and I'm back to being myself, laughing and joking."[39] Just days after that interview was published, Williamson made his last appearance for San Diego: an MRI revealed a bone chip in his elbow. Williamson returned to the DL and sat out the rest of the season.[40] San Diego released Williamson on October 12.[41]

Baltimore Orioles Edit

In late November 2006 the Baltimore Orioles signed Williamson to a one-year contract.[42] After six appearances and an ERA of 1.60, Williamson went on the disabled list with tightness in his right triceps tendon.[43] Williamson returned in June and appeared in ten more games, but lingering questions about his health and a desire on the part of Baltimore's management to promote younger players led to him being designated for assignment on July 4. In sixteen games Williamson was 1-0 with a 4.40 ERA.[44] Williamson cleared waivers and was released.

Around the minors Edit

The New York Yankees signed Williamson to a minor league contract on July 22. He was released on August 5 after going 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA in 4 games with the Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.[45] In early February 2008, Williamson signed a one year minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants.[46] He would have made $700,000 if he had made the Giants major league roster. [46] After posting a 13.50 ERA with the Giants in spring training, Williamson was released on March 5, 2008. Williamson was signed to a minor league contract by the Atlanta Braves in April. They released him in early June. [47]

On June 15, 2008, the Seattle Mariners signed him to a minor league contract. After joining the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers and his third organization that year, Williamson remarked that "This year has been kind of a crazy year for me...It's kind of frustrating, but it feels good to go out and compete."[48] but he was released in late June after just three appearances.

On January 24, 2009, Williamson signed a minor league deal with the Detroit Tigers, who were looking for middle relievers after a disappointing 2008 season. In the end Williamson lost out to newcomer Ryan Perry and was sent down to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. Detroit manager Jim Leyland praised Williamson's experience: "I think Scott Williamson has an excellent chance...You're talking about a pretty big-time Major League pitcher at one time."[49] Once in Toledo, however, Williamson had difficulties making a consistent outing and his ERA climbed steadily. On April 26, 2009, Toledo released Williamson to make room for Eddie Bonine, ending Williamson's comeback attempt within the Detroit Tigers organization.[50]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Where Are They Now: Scott Williamson. Oklahoma State University (October 17, 2003). Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  2. "Late rally lifts Billings past I.F.", 'The Post Register', August 23, 1997, p. B1.
  3. Fleming, Larry W.. "Smoltz mows down Lookouts", 'Chattanooga Times', April 3, 1998, p. E1.
  4. McCoy, Hal. "Williamson's on DL", 'Dayton Daily News', August 26, 1998, p. 5D.
  5. McCoy, Hal. "Pitcher reaches new heights", 'Dayton Daily News', April 2, 1999, p. 1D.
  6. Reds RHP Scott Williamson named NL Rookie of the Year. ESPN.com (November 8, 1999). Retrieved on 2009-05-02.
  7. Olney, Buster. "Rodriguez, Not Griffey, May Be Leader in Offers", 'New York Times', November 4, 1999. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  8. Kepner, Tyler. "Griffey's price puts Cincinnati out of trade talks", 'Seattle Post-Intelligencer', November 11, 1999. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  9. "Cincinnati 6, Houston 4", ESPN.com, September 23, 2000. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  10. McCoy, Hal. "Williamson out for season: Hard-throwing right-hander has torn ligament in elbow", 'Dayton Daily News', April 5, 2001, p. 1D.
  11. Massie, Jim. "Williamson's closing argument: Reds reliever does job while providing theatrics", 'Columbus Dispatch', April 25, 2003, p. 5B.
  12. "Remaining Reds angered by roster purge", SI.com, July 31, 2003. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  13. Luxenburger, Brad. "Fisk and fiscal flights of fancy", 'The Guardian', August 1, 2003. Retrieved on 2009-06-16.
  14. Harper, John. "YANKS TRYING TO BEAT CLOCK, SOX WHIZ KID EPSTEIN GOES ON OFFENSIVE", 'New York Daily News', July 31, 2003. Retrieved on 2009-06-16.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Hohler, Bob. "Epstein's image improves after many shrewd moves", 'Boston Globe', September 29, 2003. Retrieved on 2009-06-16.
  16. Bodley, Hal. "Red Sox's young Epstein has wisdom beyond years", 'USA Today', August 1, 2003. Retrieved on 2009-06-16.
  17. Browne, Ian. "Reliever worried about his family", MLB.com, September 22, 2003. Retrieved on 2009-06-16.
  18. McDonald, Joe. "Little's departure weighed heavily on the mind of Timlin: Initially upset and looking to leave the Red Sox, reliever Mike Timlin ultimately decided that Boston is the best place for him", 'Providence Journal', November 18, 2003. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  19. Cafardo, Nick. "How Sox, Yankees match up in winter ball", 'Boston Globe', December 28, 2003. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  20. "Foulke signs three-year deal with Red Sox", ESPN.com, December 17, 2003. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  21. Justin Masterson. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2009-06-16.
  22. Burgin, Sandy. "Notes: Williamson on comeback trail", MLB.com, June 2, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  23. "Red Sox acquire two pitchers; activate Mueller", 'USA Today', July 2, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  24. McAdam, Sean. "Sox try to sweep series under the rug", ESPN.com, July 2, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-06-16.
  25. Boston Dirt Dogs, Curt Schilling. "Curt clears the air", 'Boston Globe', October 27, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-06-16.
  26. Cafardo, Nick. "He's over the Dodger blues: Lowe confident that tough times are behind", 'Boston Globe', May 14, 2006. Retrieved on 2009-06-16.
  27. Browne, Ian. "Notes: 'Patience' the key word: Injured Mientkiewicz willing to rest to regain health", MLB.com, August 26, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  28. Browne, Ian. "Notes: Escape creates Foulke hero", MLB.com, October 9, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-06-16.
  29. "Clemens, Beltran offered arbitration: Beltre, Renteria, Pavano also get offers before deadline", NBC Sports, December 8, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-06-16.
  30. "Cubs shelve Williamson, cut Hansen", CBCSports, March 31, 2005. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  31. Muskat, Carrie. "Notes: The thrill of the chase: Williams hoping for charmed start; Neifi backing Nomar", MLB.com, August 22, 2005. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  32. Richards, Joey. "Cubs’ Williamson getting his old stuff back", 'The Galveston County Daily News', October 2, 2005. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  33. McCalvy, Adam. "Cubs begin reshaping for 2006: Club picks up Walker's option; Burnitz bought out", MLB.com, October 28, 2005. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  34. "MLB: March 1, 2006", SI.com, March 1, 2006. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  35. Whitling, Joshua. "Relief Efforts: Latest news, information on MLB bullpens", SI.com, April 13, 2006. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  36. "NL Notes: Encouraging words for Cubs pitchers", 'Post-Intelligencer', June 9, 2006. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  37. Muskat, Carrie. "Cubs send Williamson to San Diego: Chicago acquires two Minor League pitchers in deal", MLB.com, July 22, 2006. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  38. Spencer, Lyle. "Notes: Gonzalez pays tribute to Castilla: Dedicates Player of Week Award to ex-mate; Williamson active", MLB.com, July 24, 2006. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  39. Richards, Joey. "Trade has Williamson feeling happy again", 'The Galveston County Daily News', August 21, 2006. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  40. Spencer, Lyle. "Notes: Piazza, Hoffman a rare combo: Catcher has caught only one of closer's saves this year", MLB.com, August 29, 2006. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  41. "Padres release well-traveled Bellhorn, Williamson", ESPN.com, October 12, 2006. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  42. Fordin, Spencer. "Bradford, Williamson finalize contracts: Veteran relievers pass physical examinations Thursday", MLB.com, November 30, 2006. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  43. "Red Sox-Orioles thumbnails", 'The Boston Globe', April 25, 2007. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  44. Kilgore, Adam. "Reliever Williamson Is Let Go", 'Washington Post', July 5, 2007. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  45. Picker, David. "Mussina and Offense Combine to Finish Sweep", 'New York Times', August 6, 2007. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  46. 46.0 46.1 SPRING TRAINING Rowand ready to take lead. SFGate. Retrieved on 2008-08-18.
  47. Braves sign Williamson. ajc.com. Retrieved on 2008-08-18.
  48. "Williamson still making his pitch: '99 National League Rookie of Year seeks return to big leagues", 'Las Vegas Review-Journal', June 21, 2008. Retrieved on 2009-06-16.
  49. Beck, Jason. "Porcello and Perry earn roster spots: Larish and Clevlen compete for final bench opening", MLB.com, April 1, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-06-16.
  50. Beck, Jason. "Tigers release reliever Williamson: Veteran let go after struggling with Triple-A Toledo", MLB.com, April 29, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-05-02.

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