JUPITER, Fla. -- Upon hearing that manager Bo Porter had said earlier on Sunday he was definitely on the Opening Day roster, veteran pitcher Jerome Williams said it changes nothing for him.
"I'm just going to keep on going day by day until Opening Day comes," Williams said. "I've been around this game for a long time, and I'm not satisfied until I'm there Opening Day. Even though it was said by the manager I was there, I'm going to try and work my butt off and try and be that pitcher that I always want to be and try and compete and do well."
Williams, who's battling with Dallas Keuchel, Brad Peacock and Lucas Harrell for the two final spots in the starting rotation, didn't help his case Sunday when he was rocked for nine hits and six runs in four innings in a loss to the Cardinals.
"I've just got to work on throwing a ball not to bats," Williams said. "It was one of those days where balls were just finding bats, and balls were finding holes. I left like three or four pitches up, and they took advantage of it. It's kind of bad that it's happening now at the end of spring. Hopefully, I can just try and turn it around before the season starts."
Williams has made 155 career appearances, including 117 starts, though most of his relief appearances have been in the last three years. While he'd prefer to be a starter, he could be used in long relief or as a spot starter. Last year, he had two outings of relief of six innings or more.
"It don't matter to me," Williams said. "I know I can [pitch in relief]. I've done it for three years. Obviously, I do want to start. But like I said before, as long as I go out there and contribute in any way possible to help the team win, I'll do it. That's my mindset.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.