The PawSox continue their quest for a post season berth in the I.L. One of the constants for Pawtucket this season has been their bullpen. Night in and night out, this group of guys has gotten the job done. One unsung hero is lefty Randy Williams. After a couple of stints on the disabled list early in the year, the hard throwing southpaw has been terrific. So good, in fact, that he was added to the 40 man roster and earned a promotion to the Boston Red Sox.
On the last day off the PawSox had on August 3, my daughter Carly and I went to the Red Sox game against Cleveland at Fenway. Jacoby Ellsbury hit the game winning walkoff homer. That was great, but for me, as a PawSox broadcaster, another highlight was the job Williams did as the bridge between starter Tim Wakefield and closer Jonathan Papelbon. Williams is now adjusting to life back in the minors. “It’s just a matter of settling back into a routine. It’s not hard. This is what I know best.” Williams, 35, is philosophical as he explains the adjustment. “I guess you could be disappointed. I choose to look at it like I had the opportunity to go up. You never know what you’re going to get. I had a great opportunity. I really don’t feel like I’m let down. I feel blessed that I had the chance to go up there.”
Williams relishes the chance to contribute to the Red Sox as they try to nail down the American League East. “That was the most fun thing about my time up there. The chance to contribute in those type of games. As a person who gets called up from Triple A, a lot of times you have to make the adjustment, sitting in the pen waiting until there’s a big score differential, one way or the other. To get the opportunity to be in that kind of game, that’s why I play, to help the team and get some quality outs. I thought it was great. To get that opportunity that quickly was way more than I could have ever asked for.”
As a veteran player, one who’s endured the ups and downs over his career, Randy Williams just rolls with the flow. He knows he could get a September 1 callup, or maybe even be added to the postseason roster, but he doesn’t let it bog him down. “When my season got off to a rough start, I didn’t really dwell on it. A few years ago, it finally dawned on me that I can’t control these types of things. For me, the most important thing is to approach each outing, each hitter to the best of my ability. I usually don’t think ahead that far. I do think about the possibility, but I won’t dwell on it. I’ll just try to control what I can control here and let everything else work itself out.”
Williams is part of a core group of veteran pitchers that have helped Pawtucket move to the top of the I.L. North. Along with Scott Atchison, Brandon Duckworth, Hideki Okajima and Kevin Millwood when he was here, they’ve provided good pitching along with veteran presence. “It makes a big difference. When you are the only old guy, it is tougher. There’s weight on your shoulders to be the guy who shows the younger guys the way. That weight has been disbursed this year and instead of having to tell guys something, a lot of times we show guys what to do. How to act and the way things should be done. It makes guys want to go out and emulate the older players. I love pitching with guys like Atch. At least you’ve got someone there who understands what the game was like, even ten years ago.
As recently as Thursday night in Charlotte, Williams continued to get it done, working two and a third innings of relief in the 3-2 win over the Knights.