The Chicago Cubs are counting on a new edition to help them overcome their injuries.
Acquired from San Francisco for reliever LaTroy Hawkins on May 28, Williams will try to breach the gap for the Cubs until they get injured right-handers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood back in the rotation.
“He knows how to pitch. I talked to (Giants pitching coach Dave) Righetti about him extensively, about what to look for,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said of Williams. “The main thing is for our catchers to learn him as soon as possible.”
The 24-year-old right-hander is making his first start since April 24, when he allowed six runs over five innings in an 8-5 loss to the Brewers. He was 1-1 with a 2.22 ERA in four games with Triple-A Iowa, striking out 17 in 24 1-3 innings.
Williams, who went 10-7 with a 4.24 ERA with the Giants last season, said he has no interest in returning to the minors.
“I want to stay here now,” he said. “I’ve been in the minor leagues before and it’s nothing like up here. It’s a totally different atmosphere. The competitive part is totally different.”
On Monday, Greg Maddux earned his 311th victory to tie Tom Seaver for 17th on the career list as the Cubs pulled out a 5-4 win in the series opener.
The Cubs, who were coming off a three-game sweep by the New York Yankees, had lost four in a row and six of seven.
Lee’s homer, his 19th, tied him with Atlanta’s Andruw Jones for the NL lead.
The Brewers will counter Williams on Tuesday with Victor Santos, who is 3-2 with a 2.55 ERA in 10 career appearances, including six starts, against the Cubs.
Milwaukee is 7-11 in June.