Luke Williams received a call Monday night in Allentown from Josh Bonifay, the Phillies’ director of player development.

He returned a day earlier from helping Team USA reach the Olympics but wasn’t expecting a call to the big leagues. Williams assumed the Phils had already informed someone else they were being promoted to take the place of Nick Maton, who was sent down Sunday.

So that couldn’t be why Bonifay was calling. And then the farm director started the call by saying the Phillies were releasing Williams.

“I was a little confused by that,” Williams said. “But then he said it was because I was going up to the big leagues.”

Williams, 24, joined the Phillies for Tuesday’s series opener against Atlanta and said he can’t put the last few weeks into words. He played 18 games for the triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, left to join Team USA in Florida, was the team’s best hitter as it won an Olympic qualifying tournament, and was sitting Tuesday in the dugout at Citizens Bank Park as a major leaguer.

“I was trying not to think about it. If it was going to happen, it was going to happen,” Williams said. “But I’m here. I’m beyond excited to be here and I can’t wait to help this team win.”

Williams gives the Phillies a right-handed hitter for their bench who can play nearly every position. He played everything except catcher and pitcher in the minor leagues as the Phillies molded him into a super-utility player after drafting him in 2015′s third round.

» READ MORE: Phillies prospect Luke Williams helped Team USA return to the Olympics

Manager Joe Girardi said Williams’ versatility allows the Phillies to use him “in so many different ways.” Williams came prepared for wherever the manager plays him.

“Currently, I think I have eight gloves,” Williams said. “I use probably three of them. I have a third baseman glove, another infield glove, and an outfield glove. But I have some old ones that I keep for an emergency. I have one bag that’s pretty much just filled with gloves and shoes.”

Williams started all four games for Team USA and batted leadoff, but he still prepared for the role he expects to play in the majors. He spent time with Logan Forsythe -- one of the former big leaguers on the USA roster -- and tried to learn how Forsythe carved a 10-year career as a utility player.

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“Being able to pick his brain was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Williams, who first met Forsythe when they were with the Phillies last season in spring training. “I learned so much from him, and I’ll see if I can apply it.”

Williams hit .352 with a .904 OPS in triple A before leaving to join Team USA. After hitting .236 in his previous five minor league seasons, Williams finally found success at the plate. And he traced it back to a swing change he made during the 2019 season with double-A hitting coach Tyler Henson.

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Williams changed his mindset and lowered where he holds his hands -- “My hands used to go all over the place. I didn’t know where they were,” he said -- and the results followed. He hit .286 in the second half of 2019, kept it rolling last summer at the team’s alternate site, and hit .292 last winter in Australia.

He went 8-for-18 with a homer in four games for Team USA as he led the team in hits and was tied for the lead in RBIs (5) and total bases (14). The U.S. will play next month in the Olympics, but Williams will not fly to Japan as his call from Bonifay -- the one that sent him to the majors -- bounced him from the roster.

“It’s a pretty good position to be in,” Williams said. “Obviously being on a major league team is a goal of mine for my whole life, something I’ve always dreamed of. The Olympics is obviously peak performance, the best of the best. It would’ve been great to be in the Olympics, to go to Japan, but I’ll take this.”

Kintzler heads to IL

The Phillies placed Brandon Kintzler on the injured list with a strained neck, which Girardi said is something the reliever has been dealing with. Kintzler has an 8.50 ERA this season in 18 innings and allowed three runs on four hits in two-thirds of an inning on Sunday, his last appearance.

“He’s been fighting with it, so we decided to give him a timeout and see if he can get rid of it,” Girardi said.

Extra bases

Girardi said the Phillies feel good about Didi Gregorius’s progress from his elbow injury and the shortstop could start a rehab assignment this week. ... Spencer Howard and Vince Velasquez will start this weekend against the Yankees. The two-game series begins Saturday after Friday’s scheduled off day. ... Zach Eflin will start Wednesday night against Braves left-hander Tucker Davidson.