Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, August 4, 1999

P R O F E S S I O N A L _ B A S E B A L L


Jerome Williams


impresses manager
in pro debut

The Waipahu alum, drafted
39th overall by the Giants, gives up
one earned run over three
innings in a no-decision

26 out of 37 pitches were strikes

By Al Chase


Jerome Williams made his professional debut last night and had an impressive outing, his manager said.

Because of Williams' youth, Frank Reberger, manager of the Salem-Keizer (Ore.) Volcanoes of the Class A Northwest League, adjusted his starting rotation so Williams would make his first appearance at home at friendly Volcanoes Stadium.

If Williams, a 6-foot-3, 187-pound right-hander was nervous, Reberger didn't detect it.

"Jerome pitched pretty good. He had good composure, kept the ball down and did a nice job for us. I was impressed," Reberger said.

Williams started the game and threw 37 pitches in three innings against the Yakima Bears, well under his 50-pitch limit.

Twenty-two of his 30 fastballs were strikes as were four of his six curve balls. He allowed three hits, one earned run, walked nobody and struck out three.

The 39th overall pick in this year's draft by the San Francisco Giants, Williams did not reach agreement on a contract until July 10.

With the late signing and since Williams had not pitched competitively since his days as the ace of the Waipahu High School staff, the Giants were in no hurry to rush his pro debut.

"The Giants are very conservative with their talented young pitchers because they have so much invested in them," said Pat Lafferty, Salem-Keizer's director of media relations.

"The Giants' policy with all the young guys is to let them throw a couple of bullpens, get their conditioning and let them rest their arms if they pitched a lot in high school or college."

Williams did his bullpens, then had a final test throwing live batting practice.

"This is one of those deals where everybody on the team is standing and watching. He threw 15 pitches, paused for a few minutes, then threw another 15," Lafferty said.

"Jerome was terrific. Frank loved his stuff, loved the fact that, not only does he have the speed, but he has the ability to throw the curve for strikes from several different positions. Frank was really excited and called Dick Tidrow (Giants vice president, player personnel) to say Jerome was ready."

Williams was consistently in the 90-91 mph range with his fastball last night. He didn't pitch the required five innings to be involved in the decision as Salem-Keizer won, 13-8.

He will make his second start Monday in an away game against the Everett (Wash.) AquaSox.

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