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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS | World Series Report / Notes

Something's on Williams' Mind

October 19, 1998|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

Yankee center fielder Bernie Williams, usually affable and accessible to the media, has been Brooding Bernie this postseason, skipping optional workouts, hiding out in the trainer's room during champagne celebrations, taking a commercial flight from Cleveland to New York instead of the team charter during the American League championship series.

Williams, who plans to file for free agency after the season, has a history of contentious negotiations with the Yankees, and some believe he's feeling stressed by the possibility of his Yankee career ending.

General Manager Brian Cashman said re-signing Williams is the team's "No. 1 priority" this winter, but it probably didn't help when Bob Sheppard inadvertently skipped Williams' name when announcing the starting lineups before Game 1 Saturday night.

Williams says he is dealing with a "personal issue," which he has no plans to discuss. "There are so many things going on in Bernie Williams' life," Manager Joe Torre said. "This could be his last year as a Yankee, there's a lot of turmoil, and he's not comfortable talking about it."

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Torre on Sunday put to rest any speculation that designated hitter Chili Davis will replace first baseman Tino Martinez when the Series shifts to San Diego for Game 3 Tuesday night. "I anticipate Tino playing all the games there," Torre said.

But Torre did not rule out the possibility of Davis playing left field in Qualcomm Stadium. "He has been working in the outfield with [Yankee coach] Jose Cardenal, and that's not out of the realm of possibility," Torre said. Davis made 19 errors while playing right field for the Angels in 1988.

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