Williams back with Padres, won’t coach for at least 4 weeks


SAN DIEGO (AP) – San Diego Padres third base coach Matt Williams already had baseball on his mind when the anesthesia was wearing off following colon cancer surgery two weeks ago.

“I woke up and I asked what time batting practice was. I let my brother know that I had to get to the ballpark so I could hit Croney grounders,” Williams said Thursday, referring to first baseman Jake Cronenworth. “I don’t know what that’s all about. My family has video of it so I’ll never live that one down. I was anxious to get back for sure.”

Williams won’t be hitting fungoes or coaching third base for at least four weeks while he continues to heal. But he’s back with the Padres and will watch games from the dugout. He has a follow-up appointment with his surgeon on Friday and hopes to be cleared to travel before the Padres’ next trip, which begins at Arizona next Thursday, when superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. is eligible to return from an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Williams, a five-time All-Star in a 17-year career spent mostly with the San Francisco Giants, was diagnosed during spring training and had surgery on March 31, a day after opening day.

“The surgery went really well. The doctor is confident she was able to get everything at the margin, which is good,” the 57-year-old Williams said before the Padres opened a series against the Milwaukee Brewers. “I feel great and happy to be back out here and do what I can to help.”

Former St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt has been coaching third in Williams’ absence.

“It’s a relief but there’s still a long way to go,” Williams said. “This diagnosis and this process is long-term. But I’m happy and I’m satisfied so far. I’ll take the next step when appropriate and go from there.”

Williams said his doctor is doing genetic tests, “which is really important for my family to know if it was a gene mutation or something. My children need to know that.”

Williams managed the Washington Nationals for two seasons and was the NL Manager of the Year in 2014. He was manager Bob Melvin’s third base coach in Oakland in 2018-19 and joined Melvin’s Padres staff last season.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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