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Williams to wear No. 34 to honor friend

Bucs righty pays homage to ASU teammate, who was paralyzed on field
MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- Trevor Williams recently received a shipment of Pirates jerseys with his name and No. 57 on the back. They're collector's items now, memories of his fine rookie year. He'll wear a different number next season -- and for an inspired reason.

Williams announced Tuesday that he will wear No. 34 next season to honor Cory Hahn, his former roommate and teammate at Arizona State University. Hahn, who wore No. 34 at ASU, had his career cut short on Feb. 20, 2011, when he fractured the C5 vertebrae in his neck and was paralyzed from the chest down while sliding headfirst into second base.

PITTSBURGH -- Trevor Williams recently received a shipment of Pirates jerseys with his name and No. 57 on the back. They're collector's items now, memories of his fine rookie year. He'll wear a different number next season -- and for an inspired reason.

Williams announced Tuesday that he will wear No. 34 next season to honor Cory Hahn, his former roommate and teammate at Arizona State University. Hahn, who wore No. 34 at ASU, had his career cut short on Feb. 20, 2011, when he fractured the C5 vertebrae in his neck and was paralyzed from the chest down while sliding headfirst into second base.

Hahn, selected by the D-backs in the 34th round of the 2013 Draft, works in Arizona's front office as its coordinator of pro scouting. As Williams wrote on Twitter, "34 is more than just a number to me."

Tweet from @MeLlamoTrevor: I will now wear #34 on my back. It is an honor, @CoryHahn34 pic.twitter.com/GxDDfg3pb1

"Witnessing someone's life change as drastically as Cory's changed, it put my life and career in perspective," Williams wrote. "On my worst day, I remember his loss and I know that he would give anything to have even the worst day on the baseball field.

"Part of my 'why' is remembering the countless hours of rehab Cory went through in the hospital. The countless hours of rehab and workouts he still does to get stronger every day. The way he made it known that he wanted to go back to ASU with his boys surrounding him for support."

Williams and Hahn met through travel ball. They took a recruiting trip to ASU together and decided to attend as roommates. Only innings after Hahn was carried off the field with a life-altering injury, a shaken Williams made his collegiate debut.

"I look to him for support when times get rough on the field, and I am reminded to never take this opportunity for granted," Williams wrote. "You only get one career and I feel like my career is also 'our' career.

"We would often talk about our Major League dreams. However, our career paths are different now. He's chasing a different dream. I find myself still on this path that we used to share, and I remember it every time I put on my uniform."

The two remain close friends and have discussed ways to benefit the Wings For Life spinal-cord research foundation together. Hahn recently enjoyed a "Friendsgiving" meal at the Williams' house in the Phoenix area, and Williams jokes that Hahn -- who aspires to be a general manager -- should trade for him first thing whenever he lands that job.

For now, Williams is proud to recognize his friend by wearing the same number, as he did in the Cape Cod League and for the United States' Collegiate National Team. The number, recently worn by fan-favorite A.J. Burnett, became available again after the Pirates cut ties with Drew Hutchison. Williams ran the request by clubhouse manager Scott Bonnett and general manager Neal Huntington, then asked for Hahn's blessing.

"I felt like I was calling my wife's dad, asking for her hand in marriage," Williams said. "He was not surprised, but he said he was humbled."

It's a feeling Williams will share every time he puts on his No. 34 jersey.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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