Athletics

After a year on TV, Matt Williams can't wait to help A's: 'I'm a rat, man'

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After a year on TV, Matt Williams can't wait to help A's: 'I'm a rat, man'

Broadcasting kept Matt Williams connected to the game he loves.

Now, the former All-Star and Gold Glove third baseman is back in his element. Being on the field, coaching and instructing, is what Williams loves most. He’ll get a chance to do plenty of that after joining the A’s as their new third base coach.

The longtime Giant took time to discuss joining the team across the Bay with NBC Sports California’s Brodie Brazil, in the latest episode of “The Bro Show” podcast, also available on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play.

Williams played for the Giants from 1987-96, emerging as one of the National League’s top sluggers and best defensive third basemen. His coaching path eventually led him to a two-year stint managing the Washington Nationals from 2014-15. Local fans got reintroduced to Williams in 2017 when he served as a pregame and postgame Giants analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area.

“My most comfortable place is on the field, in the uniform,” said Williams, 52. “I’m a rat, man. That’s where I’m most comfortable, swinging a fungo with blisters on my hands and in the grind of 4:30 a.m. to the ballpark. So I’m happy to be back, and I’m so happy that (A’s manager) Bob (Melvin) called me and I’m proud to be part of the team and the organization.”

Williams’ ties to Melvin go back to their days as Giants teammates. He also credits Melvin for instilling the coaching bug in him after Williams called it a playing career in 2003.

“He invited me down when he was the manager in Arizona to spring training to work with Mark Reynolds and the infielders,” Williams said.

His credentials as a player — five All-Star Games and four Gold Gloves — speak for themselves. But, as Williams points out, he traveled a rocky road establishing himself as a big league regular, noting the patience that former Giants GM Al Rosen and manager Roger Craig showed with him early in his career. Perhaps that perspective will come in useful as he works with several young A’s players still finding their footing in the majors.

“There are times when Roger Craig or Al Rosen could have said, ‘You know, this kid just isn’t gonna make it,’” Williams said. “For three straight years it was really lean. But they just kept supporting me and kept helping me. I think that’s where I get my desire to help these players.”

As much as Williams enjoyed being an analyst, he’s pumped to be back in coaching.

“I love the broadcasting stuff, but when Bob Melvin calls and says, ‘Hey, I want you to coach third for me,’ I have to accept that job.”

Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues

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Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues

When A's catcher Bruce Maxwell knelt during the anthem last season, he was the first MLB player to do so. He knelt before each of each of Oakland's final nine games, in order to protest racial inequality and in response to President Trump's incendiary comments about NFL players kneeling, but ended the season as the only MLB player to kneel during the anthem. 

This season, he won't kneel at all, he told reporters in a statement on the first day of spring training. 

“Obviously, I didn’t take that lightly,” Maxwell told the San Francisco Chronicle prior to the release of his statement.  “That was to bring awareness to a problem and the face we do see it, we do experience and we have empathy for what’s going on. This year I don’t plan on kneeling. … And we’ll move on forward.”

While Maxwell did address his protest during the anthem, he largely did not address his offseason legal issues.

“It’s ongoing, I can’t really discuss details,” he said. “It’s something me and my lawyers are handling.”

On Oct. 28, Maxwell was arrested in Scottsdale after allegedly pointing a gun at a food-delivery person. He pleaded not guilty to felony charges of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct in November, and is set for a settlement conference on April 13 after failing to reach a plea agreement on Monday, according to the Chronicle. 

If an agreement cannot be reached, Maxwell's trial is set to begin on Aug. 9. 

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson traded to... the Yankees

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Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson traded to... the Yankees

The New York Yankees Wednesday announced that they have acquired infielder Russell Wilson from the Texas Rangers in exchange for future considerations.

Wilson, 29, led the Seattle Seahawks to the 2014 Super Bowl championship, defeating the Denver Broncos, 43-8. At age 25, Wilson became the third-youngest quarterback to lead a team to a Super Bowl victory.

He has played the past six seasons (2012-17) with Seattle. A four-time Pro-Bowler, Wilson has completed 1,815-of-2,834 pass attempts (64.0 percent) for 22,176 yards and 161 touchdowns. He has compiled a career starting record of 65-30-1. In 2017, Wilson led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes.

"We've admired Russell's career from afar for quite some time," Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said. "This is a unique opportunity for us to learn from an extraordinary athlete who has reached the pinnacle of his profession. 

"After talking to a number of our players, there is a genuine excitement in having Russell join us for a short time in camp. We are all looking forward to gaining insight into how he leads teammates toward a common goal, prepares on a daily basis for the rigors of his sport, and navigates the successes and failures of a season."

The Richmond, Va., native was originally selected by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, and was acquired by Texas in the minor league phase of the 2013 Rule 5 Draft. In 2014 and '15, Wilson participated in team workouts at Rangers spring training camp.

In 93 career minor league games between Rookie-level Tri-City (2010) and Single-A Asheville (2011) in Colorado's system, Wilson hit .229/.354/.356 (72-for-315) with 58R, 9 doubles, 8 triples, 5HR, 26RBI and 19SB. In his last 15 games with Asheville in 2011, Wilson hit .302 (16-for-53) with 13R, 5 extra-base hits, 9RBI and 5SB.

A two-sport athlete in college, Wilson graduated from North Carolina State University in 2010. Using his last year of amateur eligibility, Wilson enrolled at the University of Wisconsin and quarterbacked the Badgers to a co-Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl appearance following the 2011 season. 

Wilson is expected to be in Major League camp in March. While he is in Tampa, Wilson will participate in pregame workouts with the club and watch games from the Yankees' dugout.

He will be assigned to the Double-A Trenton roster.

Yankees media services