Williams hoping to turn "unique" fastball into effective weapon for Cubs

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs starter Trevor Williams delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Chicago.

    Chicago Cubs starter Trevor Williams delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Chicago.

 
 
Updated 7/25/2021 7:20 PM

Cubs pitcher Trevor Williams got himself back on track Sunday, throwing 6⅓ scoreless innings in a win over Arizona.

Maybe time off to rest his arm did some good, but he certainly wasn't expecting to be sidelined for roughly six weeks due to an emergency appendectomy.

 

"I wish this happened to me when I was 10 years old instead of 29 in the big leagues, right?" he said after the game. "It was one of those things where I was going to try to tough it out. I just thought it was food poisoning. Thankfully, our doctors talked me out of it and said you really want to get to the hospital and make sure that this isn't what we think it is.

"Freak injuries happen. It's part of the game. Today was a big step forward toward the rest of the season."

The Diamondbacks have the worst record in MLB, but this outing showed some of Williams' potential, despite some struggles this year. After the game, manager David Ross talked about what made Williams successful.

"I feel like he's got such a unique fastball, if he's able to throw his off-speed for strikes and then hides that fastball to use a little bit later in the counts, I feel like that benefits him," Ross said. "I thought he did a nice job of that today, just getting ahead with the off-speed in the zone. Then you've got a lot of things to slow the hitter down, you have a lot of avenues to use different pitches in different locations."

Williams agreed with that assessment and explained what Ross meant by a unique fastball.

"I think my entire career, I've been a fastball-dominant pitcher," he said. "It's nothing that jumps out at you in terms of velocity. But I think some of the stuff we've highlighted is in my delivery, the way my hand moves through my release point, the arm angle -- it makes it unique.

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"Which helps me, because I don't have that 95-plus fastball every time I go to throw the pitch. That's just always how I've pitched. I was told at a very young age if you can't throw strikes with your fastball, you're not going to pitch anywhere at any level.

"So I've kind of taken that and run with it and it's helped me in my career."

• Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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