Yankees fond of young Williams' desire

High-energy outfield prospect proud to play before family

By Bryan Hoch | March 18, 2012 8:20 PM ET

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Yankees outfield prospect Mason Williams brought a devoted cheering section to the stands at Ed Smith Stadium on Sunday, and he seems to have acquired a fan in the dugout as well.

The 20-year-old Williams -- rated the Yankees' fourth-best prospect by MLB.com -- joined New York's travel squad for its 6-3 loss to the Orioles, entering as a pinch-runner and logging a single in his only at-bat. He also showed aggressiveness, attempting to steal second base after manager Joe Girardi gave him a green light.

"It was good to see our young kids get in, to see Mason get a hit," Girardi said. "His family was here, and it's always a special time, even your first big league Spring Training game. I was happy to see him try to steal. He showed me he doesn't have fear and he has a plan. I was pleased with what I saw."

Williams was a fourth-round pick of the Yankees in 2010 out of West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Fla., and said he had about 10 friends and family members make the trip to Sarasota to witness his first Major League spring game.

"It felt great, definitely, to play with the guys that wear this Yankees uniform every single day," Williams said. "To take part in that was an awesome experience."

Williams entered as a sixth-inning pinch-runner for Mark Teixeira and took off on lefty Troy Patton but was gunned down at second base by Orioles catcher Matt Wieters. He added a bloop single to left off Robert Hinton in the eighth inning.

"I'll remember that until the last day," Williams said. "It was an awesome experience, and I was smiling when I was on the bases. I was smiling a lot."

Williams was a standout in the New York-Penn League last year, batting .349 (94-for-269) with 11 doubles, six triples, three homers and 31 RBIs in 68 games for Class A Staten Island. He stole 28 bases in 40 attempts and is expected to begin the season at Class A Charleston.

"This makes me more hungry," Williams said. "The adrenaline doesn't stop here. It keeps going to tomorrow. I want to come back here, and I want to play as hard as I can and hopefully make an impact."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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