Originally created 04/01/04

Williams goes 3-for-5 against Halladay



TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams went 3-for-5 against AL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay in a minor league game Wednesday.

Williams played center field for Triple-A Columbus and batted in each of the first five innings against the Toronto Blue Jays ace, who pitched for Triple-A Syracuse in his final spring training start.

"It's one of those deals that he's getting ready for the season and I'm getting ready for the season," Williams said. "So we're probably at the same mental and physical level right now."

Williams played for the third straight day in the outfield and in his seventh minor league game overall since having his appendix removed on Feb. 26.

"He looked good," Halladay said. "The same guy, fighting off pitches and has a good eye for the strike zone. He always puts the ball in play."

Halladay allowed four hits in eight innings.

Williams lined a single to right in the first and later added two ground singles through the infield.

"In June or July, it probably would be a different story either for me or him," Williams said. "But right now it's good because I'm getting ready, I'm seeing the ball well, I'm putting the ball in play and I'm getting my hits."

Williams is scheduled to go to Clearwater for a Triple-A game against Philadelphia minor leaguers on Thursday. He could be ready to play when the Yankees resume the regular season April 6 at Tampa Bay.

"I think I'm getting closer to where I need to be," Williams said. "I don't think I'm quite there yet."

Notes: Yankees RHP Orlando Hernandez, coming off shoulder surgery, could throw batting practice for the first time Friday. He has been throwing off a bullpen mound since re-signing with the Yankees three weeks ago. ... New York 1B Travis Lee (shoulder) hit off a tee for the second consecutive day and might take batting practice Thursday. ... No. 3 starter Javier Vazquez expects to make his final spring training start Friday in a minor league game. That puts him in line to pitch the second of two games at Tampa Bay on April 7 or the home opener one day later against the Chicago White Sox.