The reassurance Mac Williamson needed came in his first rehab game with High-A San Jose on Wednesday.
Williamson hurt his left quadriceps in Giants camp this spring trying to score from second on a base hit. So it was a good sign Wednesday when he sped from first to third on a ball down the line.
“I felt fast, if not faster than before,” Williamson said. “I’m not holding back at all. Everything’s feeling good.”
Williamson joined the Triple-A River Cats on Saturday to continue his rehab from the quad strain he suffered in mid-March. He has already played a handful of games at extended spring training and two games at High-A, enough to test the quad in situations that are difficult to simulate.
“In the outfield there’s times you’re stopping and starting,” Williamson said. “Sometimes deceleration can get it, breaking down on a ground ball or something to first. There’s all kinds of different things on the basepaths and in the field that can aggravate it, and so far I’ve done all those things and it feels great and strong and flexible.”
His recovery is coming at a good time. The Giants’ outfield has sustained a rash of injuries, starting when Jarrett Parker, whom Williamson was competing with in left field this spring, broke his clavicle running into the wall at AT&T Park on April 15.
The Giants were already without Hunter Pence on Saturday in Colorado because of a bruised knee. Then, Denard Span had to leave the game after colliding with the wall making a catch in the third inning.
Williamson may not be the immediate answer if the Giants need to call up an outfielder. He said before Saturday’s game he’s still getting his timing back at the plate after sitting out nearly a month, and that the Giants have said nothing about accelerating his timeline.
“It’s just been, ‘Let’s make sure you’re healthy and you can play nine innings healthy everyday, make sure you’re doing what you need to prevent it from becoming an issue in the future,’ ” Williamson said. “There’s been zero conversation on what may or may not happen when my rehab’s up. There’s been no conversation on what might transpire.”
But eventually Williamson figures to be in consideration. He is already on the Giants’ 40-man roster. He also has an option remaining, so if the Giants needed to send him back down later in the year, they could do so without the risk of losing him to a waiver claim.
Before his injury this spring, Williamson was hitting .324 with two home runs. He only had six rehab at-bats at San Jose before transferring to Sacramento, recording one hit and striking out three times in his second game on Thursday.
“I felt OK in the first game and then the second game I didn’t feel quite myself,” he said. “Missed a couple pitches that I should have hit and got in bad counts, and the pitcher there made some great pitches on me. It was definitely an adjustment there from extended but it was fun to get back in front of some fans and get the juices going.”
Williamson said he texted Parker after the latter’s injury but hasn’t spoken with him yet. He said he felt for the Giants’ left fielders, mostly Parker and Chris Marrero, who have not produced much in the early going this season.
“I’ve been there,” Williamson said. “It’s easier said than done, and I don’t think me being out there would have been any different necessarily. It’s a hard job and both those guys are extremely talented. And if they’re struggling, who’s to say I wouldn’t be struggling as well?”