CLEARWATER, Fla. - The 2.83 ERA Jerome Williams compiled in nine starts late last summer is a distant memory.
The journeyman righthander's spring struggles continued Thursday in the Grapefruit League finale. Williams allowed six runs on nine hits over 52/3 innings in the 10-1 loss to the Rays.
"A little bit frustrated because I know I'm better than that," he said. "It's just not acceptable."
Thursday's peformance came on the heels of two other poor outings in Fort Myers, against the Red Sox and Twins. Over his last three starts, he allowed a combined 14 earned runs on 28 hits in 122/3 innings.
The runs have been a result of Williams' leaving pitches high in the strike zone, Williams said. He was inconsistent Thursday. Despite all the runs and hits, he struck out six and walked no one.
"Whatever I need to do to get this thing right I'm going to do it," he said.
Williams, 33, said he had yet to be told whether he will start the third or fourth game of the regular season.
"It don't matter," he said. "Because by that time it's going to be fixed and it's going to be better."
Ken Giles threw off flat ground Thursday morning and reported no problems stemming from the back problem that prematurely ended his Tuesday outing.
"I let it loose," the 24-year-old righthander said. "No pain. No nothing."
Giles will need to pitch off a mound before getting back into a game.
Odubel Herrera started his day wearing a Hooters restaurant tank top and finished it as the Phillies' Grapefruit League hits leader. The centerfielder went 3 for 3 with a home run to give him 22 hits in 62 at-bats.
Someone hung a white Hooters waitress shirt in the rookie's locker Thursday morning. Herrera's name and uniform number were written on the back around the restaurant's "Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined" slogan. Herrera wore the shirt during batting practice.
Grady Sizemore started in right field for the third consecutive day, making him the likely candidate to start there while Domonic Brown works his way back from Achilles tendinitis. . . . The Phillies will wear an "SLB" patch this season to honor longtime part-owner Sara L. Buck, who died in August.
- Jake Kaplan