OAKLAND, Calif. — Talk about going in blind.
Mason Williams found out at 3 a.m. Friday while on a bus to Buffalo that he had been summoned to the big leagues and was needed that night in Oakland.
So Williams, along with catcher Kyle Higashioka, a teammate with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, headed straight to the Buffalo airport for an early-morning flight to Chicago and then from there to Oakland.
The pair walked into the Yankees’ clubhouse at just after 4 p.m. Friday. Williams, in particular, was in scramble mode as he was the night’s starting centerfielder with Aaron Hicks day to day with a sore left Achilles.
“I’m fine with it,” Williams said with a smile as he hurried to get prepared. “I’m just happy we got here in a decent amount of time. Still good. I’ll be able to get some swings in the cage before the game.”
He had an RBI single in four trips to the plate Friday night.
Williams, once considered an elite outfield prospect, has battled injuries throughout his career but finally has been healthy this season. The 25-year-old, a fourth-round pick of the Yankees in 2010 who played in a combined 97 games in 2015 and 2016, has played in 59 games this season, playing his usual standout defense. He’s slashing .243/.289/.275.
“Extremely satisfying,” said Williams, who did hit .296 in 12 games after a September call-up last season. “That’s half the battle in this game, staying on the field and continuing to be healthy.”
Aroldis Chapman threw 20 pitches — nine strikes — in two-thirds of an inning Friday night in a rehab outing with Double-A Trenton. In hitting 102 mph, according to the Trentonian, the reliever allowed one run and two walks, also throwing two wild pitches and striking out two. Manager Joe Girardi said the plan is for Chapman to rejoin the Yankees Saturday night here and be activated for Sunday afternoon’s game.