Editor's note: The video above is from Dec. 7, 2015.
SCOTTSDALE -- Asked about Mac Williamson early in camp, Bruce Bochy made it clear that he preferred for the power-hitting prospect to play every day in Triple-A. Bochy then met with Williamson, intent on relaying the message before it was written by reporters.
It turns out Williamson didn’t need a warning.
“I knew coming in that after missing 2014 they wanted me to get at-bats,” Williamson said Saturday. “I knew coming in that it’s a long shot.”
One of Williamson's best friends in baseball is Matt Duffy, so he also knows something else.
“Obviously it was a long shot for Duffy last year and he pushed the issue,” he said.
Williamson’s push started Saturday against the Rangers. He ambushed a first-pitch fastball from ace Cole Hamels and launched a solo homer deep to left-center. With the Giants trailing by four in the ninth, Williamson worked a 3-2 count and then crushed another fastball for a two-run bomb.
If you’re going to change minds in the Cactus League, a two-homer day is a hell of a place to start.
“I talked to him (early in camp), but with that said, he’s here,” Bochy said. “He understands where he stands. I was honest with him. It’s more like a long shot, but if he does things like he did today, it makes that long shot a little shorter.”
Bochy is now all but certain that he’ll open with a 12-man pitching staff, but the Giants will wait until the end of the month to decide if they’re keeping a fifth outfielder, third catcher or extra infielder.
In an odd way, Williamson is hurt by how much the Giants think of him. He has the potential to be a very good everyday corner outfielder down the line, but the staff wants him to continue developing after a year was lost to Tommy John surgery.
Bochy said the depth chart “hasn’t changed that much” after a few days of games, but the staff could decide that a power-hitting fifth outfielder is the right fit as April approaches. For now, Williamson is only worrying about what he can control. He has worked diligently with coaches over the last couple of weeks and showed a strong approach on Saturday. Williamson wasn’t going to crow about his blast off Hamels, though.
“That was cool, but having been in camp for a few years I know these guys are all working on stuff,” he said. “I wouldn’t read too much into it because once the season rolls around he’ll be a different guy.”
If Williamson has a few more days like this one, he'll one day get a shot at that version of Hamels, too.