Clemson coach says Williams' rehab on shoulder is still ongoing
Clemson head coach Monte Lee says senior Chris Williams will not be ready to catch when the 12th-ranked Tigers open the college baseball season next Friday against William & Mary at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.
Williams is coming back from off-season surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder, which he injured while sliding into the bag at first base on May 7 against Nevada.
“His rehab is still ongoing with his shoulder,” Lee said, “but Chris will play first base for us, which gives us an above average defensive first baseman there as he continues to build his arm strength. Hopefully, we will get Chris behind the dish, but it is just a matter of when he is one hundred percent.”
Lee says the Garden Grove, Calif., native will open the season at first base instead, while sophomore Kyle Wilkie will start behind the plate.
Wilkie came on for the Tigers following Williams’ injury last year. The day after Williams’ injury he went 2-for-5 at the plate with a two-run triple against Nevada. He earned Clemson Regional All-Tournament honors after going 5-for-13 at the plate with a double, RBI, two runs, three walks and an on base percentage of .500 in five games.
With Williams moving over to first base for the time being, Lee plans to put two-time All-American Seth Beer in right field, where he played his entire freshman season and parts of last season.
“It was really more of a domino effect for us,” Lee said. “With Chris Williams not being quite ready, we feel like with Chris being so good defensively at first base and Seth having played the outfield so much, that moving Seth back into the outfield with Chris at first base is probably the right option for us.”
Beer played much of fall practice at first base and started the preseason practices at first base.
Lee went on to say as they move forward and Williams continues to get healthy then they will revisit the first base situation.
“Once Chris gets back behind the plate, we will move Seth back into first or put (Patrick) Cromwell over there. Cromwell is a plus-defender at first as well so we will have some options.”