Bernie Williams: “I’m Back”

Special for the Puerto Rico Daily Sun

FORT MYERS, Florida-
” I love playing man. I’m very happy to be in this uniform (Puerto Rico) again”.

Bernie Williams face could have not lie to nobody. His smile was as radiant as the sun in chilly Hammond Stadium Tuesday afternoon before the exhibition game against the Minnesota Twins.

“I’m very excited. I feel like a 15 year old kid playing baseball again”. Williams said. “I’m very happy. I knew I can help this team. Moreover I know I still have something left”.

Williams, 40 last year came out surprisingly from a never announced two-year retirement playing briefly for the Carolina Gigantes.

The five-time All Star was unsigned by the New York Yankees as a free agent in 2007.

The Barceloneta native  has played his entire 16–year carrer with the Yankees (1991-2006). He ranks on the Yankees top ten list in nine offensive categories. He appeared in 121 postseason games, winning four World Series. In 1996 was the American League Championship Series MVP with a .474 average, 2 homers and 6 RBI’s.

According to Williams he will be used primarily as a designated hitter and possibly as a leftfielder in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

“I’m going to do what the Manager (Oquendo) needs. I’m ready”, Williams punctuated.

However no matter what he does or will do most eyes are on his future.

“My focus rigt now is on the Classic. I’m open-minded of what can come in the future,” Williams said. Everything depends how well I will do in the Classic.”

Williams did not deny any moment returning to the Bronx Bombers if given the opportunity.

On the other hand, Williams pointed out that immediately after the Classic he will be attending business of what he calls “my second career”.

Next April 18 he will be releasing his second jazz album with a concert at the Nokia Theatre in New York City.

Ironically the album is named “Moving Forward”.

As far at the present he emphasized his “first career” is baseball. According to Williams his number 51 is open to return to the Yankees. Only the Yankees.

Manager Jose” Cheito” Oquendo despite the loss to the Twins was satisfied with the overall performance of the team. Oquendo confirmed LHP Jonathan Sanchez will open gainst the Tampa Bay Rays. Will decide Wednesday the starter for Thursday game against the Boston Red Sox….Oquendo confirmed his “three catching rotation” for the upcoming Classic in first round action. Ivan Rodriguez will catch the first game agains Panama next Saturday; Yadier Molina will catch the second game and Geovany Soto the third game….. RHP Carlos Gutierrez made his Puerto Rico debut Tuesday. Gutierrez will be assigned to the Single-A Fort Myers Miracle for the upcoming season. He will pitch again as a reliever against Boston.

Both Luis Matos and Jose Morales played against its fellow Team Puerto Rico. Matos mentioned still he have high hopes to win the fifth outfielder spot and return to the Majors. The former Oriole, a non-roster invitee, spent the entire 2008 season with Yucatan in the Mexican League.Matos played for Puerto Rico in the inaugural 2006 Classic…..Jose Morales mentioned is confident could be back in the Majors anytime this season. Morales major league debut day was a sour day. After an impressive 3 for 3 game against the Chicago White Sox he left the game after spraining his left nkle running the bases. Morales is expected to start the season with the Triple-A Rochester.



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