Astros designate veteran reliever Williams
Resilient right-hander to be released or traded; Houston likely to activate Bass
HOUSTON -- The Astros said goodbye to veteran pitcher Jerome Williams on Monday, informing him that he was being designated for assignment following a 10-4 loss to the Mariners in which he gave up two runs in the ninth inning.
The team has 10 days to trade or release Williams, but his tenure with the Astros is done. The Astros signed Williams in February to a $2.1 million deal with incentives. He appeared in 26 games in relief and was 1-4 with a 6.04 ERA, blowing the save in Saturday's loss to the Tigers.
An emotional Williams packed his bags in the clubhouse as he spoke to reporters Monday.
"I wasn't doing my job, and that's how baseball is, and you can't do nothing about it," he said. "You just have to move on. I had the opportunity to be here and try and do my job, and obviously it wasn't working. I have to move on and hopefully latch onto another team and pursue my dream and just keep playing."
Williams' story was an inspiring one. He returned to the Majors with the Angels in 2011 after five years away from the big leagues, spending time with two independent league teams and the 2010 season in Taiwan.
"I've been doing it for the last three years, and the road that I went through, I don't think nobody would ever try and come back," he said. "I'm sorry I'm getting emotional right now, but the way I go out there and do my business, and the road I went through, nobody could do it like I did. I'll always have the strength to keep on going."
The Astros did not announce the move, but it was expected that right-hander Anthony Bass, who was in the Astros' clubhouse following Monday night's game, would be activated on Tuesday. Bass had been on a Minor League rehab assignment at Class A Quad Cities.
Bass, who has been on the disabled list since May 11 with a right intercostal strain, threw two innings Sunday, allowing two hits and two runs. He has appeared in 15 games for the Astros this year, going 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in 18 innings while allowing 17 hits and nine earned runs with five walks.
"He had a good outing, and right now we feel like he's probably very close," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said before Monday night's game. "He's going to be down for a few days after pitching [Sunday] night. We'll probably make a decision either later today or [Tuesday] about exactly what to do with Bass, but we're encouraged by what we saw yesterday."