When Mason Williams went to first base to pinch run for Mark Teixeira last night, Joe Girardi gave the 20-year-old center fielder the green light. Williams was in a big league spring training game for the first time, and he wasted little time. He took off for second base and was thrown out by Matt Wieters.
“(Girardi) said sometimes first-timers are scared out there or whatever,” Williams said. “But I felt comfortable. I thought I had a good enough jump, but I guess not.”
Williams was candid after the game, and he seemed relatively comfortable surrounded by a crowd of roughly a dozen reporters for the first time. It’s part of what the Yankees like about him, a humble confidence that makes Williams more than a talented young athlete.
“I definitely talked to a lot of players on the team, picked their head,” Williams said. “When I was on the bench, just watching the game, see how they play and see what goes on in the dugout, hopefully learn from it. … It makes me more hungry, and the adrenalin doesn’t stop here. It keeps going if I play tomorrow in a spring training game with the other guys across the street. I just want to come back here. I want to play as hard as I can and hopefully make an impact.”
After being thrown out, Williams stayed aggressive. In his first at-bat of big league camp, he swung at the first pitch and singled to left field. He had family in the stands, and they made plenty of noise. Williams got to first base and tried to play it cool, only later admitting that he was smiling on the inside.
“I was here watching people, picking brains,” he said. “It all starts there.”
Associated Press photo