Phillies call up touted prospect Williams to make MLB debut

NEW YORK (AP) — Touted prospect Nick Williams made his major league debut for the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night against the New York Mets.

Williams was called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where the 23-year-old outfielder was batting .280 with 15 home runs, 16 doubles and 44 RBIs in 78 games. He was ranked the fourth-best prospect in the organization by Baseball America.

“I’m extremely excited. This is the best day of my life,” Williams said at his locker before the game. “I’m getting thrown right in there first day, so I’m ready to go. I’m still trying to soak it in.”

Williams singled off Mets ace Jacob deGrom in the seventh inning for his first major league hit.

A roster spot opened for Williams when Philadelphia placed left fielder and second baseman Howie Kendrick on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Wednesday, with a strained left hamstring. Kendrick is hitting .349 with two homers and 14 RBIs over 126 at-bats in his first season with the Phillies.

Williams is considered a big part of the future for the rebuilding Phillies, who began the night with the worst record in the majors. He was acquired from Texas as part of the trade package for All-Star pitcher Cole Hamels in July 2015.

A left-handed hitter, Williams started in left field and batted sixth Friday night. He took a called third strike in his first career plate appearance against deGrom.

Williams said he expected a few family members at the game, including his fiancée and her parents. He received word he was headed to the majors after Thursday’s game with Lehigh Valley.

“My reaction was, I don’t know,” he said. “I thought about it time and time again if I was going to cry, if I was going to like, what was going to happen? And honestly, I was just in shock. I was like, wow, no way.”

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