ALLENTOWN - Nick Williams, one of the Phillies’ top prospects, found himself benched Tuesday for disciplinary reasons for the second time in two weeks.
The outfielder was held out of triple-A Lehigh Valley’s lineup after not hustling Monday when he hit a ground ball to the pitcher. Williams broke his bat on the play and was frustrated. He threw his helmet when he returned to the dugout.
IronPigs manager Dave Brundage benched Williams for two games earlier this month when Williams did not run hard after hitting a pop-up that was dropped. It was not certain that Williams would return to the lineup on Wednesday.
“I respect the game,” Williams said. “I don’t ever think that I’m bigger than the game or better than anyone and think I don’t have to do things the right way. It was weird. It happened too fast to get going. That’s his decision. I can’t do anything about it.”
The groundout ended Williams’ hitting streak after 11 games. He is batting .285 with seven homers in 67 games this season. The lefthander has struck out 73 times and walked just 17 times in 287 plate appearances. The Phillies acquired him last July from Texas as part of the trade that sent Cole Hamels to the Rangers. MLB.com ranks him as the Phillies’ third-best prospect.
Brundage said that benching Williams is about “teaching him how to play the game right.”
“It’s all part of the development with Nick,” Brundage said. “Whether he’s in the lineup or not, we’ll make sure we get something out of it.”
Williams appeared to be pushing for a promotion to the majors, but this incident could delay that. It also could give Williams a label in Philadelphia before ever playing a game with the Phillies. He said he read a few comments on social media but was not concerned.
“I’ve never ever cared about what people think about me,” Williams said. “If their last name isn’t Williams or they don’t pay me, put food on my table and a roof over my head, then I could care less. If they watched my games, watch the plays I make on defense, watch me run the bases, [I] try to do anything that I can to win. They’ll have no problem with that.”