Williams called up to fill backup-catcher void
DENVER -- After losing their two backup catchers on Saturday, the Giants called up Jackson Williams from Double-A Richmond and activated him in time for Sunday's series finale with the Rockies.
Andrew Susac left the team to travel to San Francisco on Saturday with a right wrist ligament injury, and Hector Sanchez sprained his ankle, strained his hamstring and sprained his foot running out a sacrifice bunt in the fourth inning on Saturday on a day when starting catcher Buster Posey was supposed to get some rest.
Williams was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2007 Draft, and debuted with the Rockies, playing seven games in 2014. Coincidentally, he was supposed to make his big league debut with Sunday's Rockies starter, Yohan Flande, a year ago, but he was scratched at the last minute so that Flande could have a Spanish-speaking catcher for his first game in the Majors. Williams was claimed off waivers by the Angels in October and was traded back to the Giants on March 17.
"Jackson Williams has some experience," manager Bruch Bochy said. "He went down to Double-A to help out the club there and catch every day. Good for him. I'm happy that he's getting a call up. Great kid, works hard. He does a nice job behind the plate. He'll be our backup. He'll start when Buster needs a day."
Williams has five years of experience at the Triple-A level, but went to Richmond this season to provide experience behind the plate for the Giants' pitching prospects. He hit .228 (63-for-276) for the season, with 18 RBIs in 83 games.
"He's cerebral back there, good receiver, lot of energy," Bochy said of Williams. "He's in great shape. Pitchers are comfortable throwing to him with his receiving skills. He's really a nice backup, in the fact that he handles the staff well, he throws well and he's got a quick release. He's not a guy you look for to help out too much offensively, but he'll compete up there."
With the Eastern League season ending Monday, he was counting down the final days of his season. Instead, after a late night call from his manager, he caught a 7 a.m. flight and landed in Colorado at 10:30 on Sunday morning.
"My plans were to head home," Williams said. "I talked to the family and told them I'd probably be home Tuesday. They were looking forward to seeing me, but obviously things change."
Williams is reunited with many of his Minor League teammates, including Brandon Crawford (who he roomed with in Double-A and a couple years at Spring Training), Nick Noonan, Josh Osich, Kelly Tomlinson, and Sunday's starter Madison Bumgarner. He even played with Buster Posey in the 2008 playoffs, Posey's first year in professional baseball.
"From Day 1, the plan was to be here and make it to the big leagues with [San Francisco]," Williams said. "It's not the way I envisioned it, but it happened, and I'm more than happy to be here."