Scott Williamson

Q&A //

March 10, 2007|By Roch Kubatko

The Orioles signed reliever Scott Williamson to a one-year contract Nov. 30, hoping he could primarily work the middle innings and provide insurance for later because of his experience as a closer. He split last season between the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres and underwent another surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. Williamson was named the National League's Rookie of the Year in 1999 with the Cincinnati Reds after going 12-7 with 19 saves, and made 10 starts the following year.

Why did you transfer from Tulane to Oklahoma State after two years? -- Differences with the head coach [Rick Jones] at Tulane. Not seeing eye-to-eye. I guess he didn't feel like I was suited for his program. No big deal to me. ... It happens. ... Actually, it turned out to be a better deal at Oklahoma State, anyway. I had more fun there.

What was the best part about being a rookie at the All-Star Game? -- Just being there with all those guys. I had a really good year and I felt like I deserved it, anyway. I had one of the lowest ERAs in the league at the time. I was just a great experience to be there, especially that All-Star Game because of the All-Century team. You get to see all the Hall of Famers you idolized growing up and actually get to shake their hands and be on the field with them. That was one of the best experiences I had in the game.

Was it your idea, or the Reds', to have you join the rotation in 2000? -- A little bit of both. I was always a starter in the minors. The first year I ever relieved was '99. I was still throwing three or four innings out of the 'pen. They came to me in midseason after somebody got hurt in the rotation and asked me, and I said, "Absolutely." I enjoyed starting. I wish I could have that opportunity to do it again, but it's pretty late in my career now.

So you won't be going eight innings anytime soon?Probably not, but I know I can. It was a great experience. It was a childhood dream to start in the big leagues, and I got that opportunity.

What do relievers do in the 'pen during games to fight the boredom?Guys do a lot of different things. For the most part, you pay attention to the game. A lot of people think you just sit down there and talk and play cards and have a good time, but you really don't. You're watching the hitters; you're talking about the hitters. You really try to pay attention, because eventually you're going to have to face those guys in certain situations and you have to keep your head in it. For me, by the fourth inning on is when I get real serious and locked in. The first three you're maybe nice and relaxed and you talk and have fun. The bullpen can be boring, but for the most part, you never know when you're going to be called into the game, so you have to stay alert.

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