With the kind of numbers Mac Williamson put up in the California League in 2013, putting on a Richmond Flying Squirrels uni on minor league baseball's opening day was inevitable. But an apparent injury will hold him back from the jump to Double-A, and the decision makes sense on multiple levels.
According to Joe Ritzo, San Jose Giants radio voice, Williamson is nursing an elbow strain in his throwing arm. There have been rumors the injury is UCL related — a ligament in the elbow that when torn requires Tommy John surgery — though Ritzo didn't mention anything along those lines.
Though throwing the baseball is something coaches are keeping Williamson from doing at the moment, which is hindering him from playing in the field, he's slated to begin a throwing program next week.
That being said, Williamson can swing the bat just fine, putting on a power display during Thursday's opening day batting practice session. I counted at least 5 home runs, including one that cleared the center field batter's eye — 430 feet at least. Considering the designated hitter is used during all games in the California League, Williamson's projected month-long rehabilitation stint with San Jose makes perfect sense. Playing in Richmond would not only expose him to the East Coast cold in April, but would keep him from being able to get at-bats on a daily basis, as he will surely do with San Jose.
The Eastern League uses the DH in roughly half their games.
Williamson slugged .503 last season with his first full-season team, clubbing 25 home runs and driving in 89 runs. That power will aid San Jose before he joins Richmond in a month, assuming his rehab goes according to plan.