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Ex-Diamondbacks player, coach Matt Williams: ‘It’s nice to be home’

PHOENIX — Six seasons as a player. Another four seasons as a coach. Time spent as a broadcaster, front office executive and part owner.

Matt Williams did it all with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He adds a new role this week: Visitor.

“It’s odd,” he said as he sat in the visitor’s dugout. “Walking all the way down the hallway as opposed to taking a left (into the Diamondbacks clubhouse). It’s part of it. I signed up for this, so it’s what I get.

“It’s nice to be home.”

Williams had never been anything but a member of the home team at Chase Field. That changes this week, however, as he comes to town to manage the Washington Nationals for a three-game series with the Diamondbacks.

“The responsibilities of everything, getting the chance to talk to you folks (the media) everyday is a little different for me,” ,” he said of being a first-year manager. “That’s all part of it and I understood that going in. But still, once you’re faced with it every day, it’s an adjustment period. I’m enjoying it. I’m having fun.”

Williams has had an event-filled first six weeks of the season, dealing with injuries — Wilson Ramos, Ryan Zimmermann and Bryce Harper — benching players, and most recently getting swept in three games by the Oakland Athletics.

It’s all left him little time to follow his former club.

“The thing that’s telling to us right now is they’ve won six out of nine,” he said of the Diamondbacks’ recent run of success. “That’s what we look at it. Not necessarily what’s happened before that.”

Williams dismissed the notion he somehow has an advantage this week given his time spent in the organization.

Yes, he knows Diamondbacks personnel, and players’ tendencies, but at the same time “if you hang a breaking ball to Goldy (Paul Golschmidt), it’s dangerous and if you don’t make the pitches you want to make to Miggy (Miguel Montero) it’s dangerous. But that’s the case with everybody.”

Still, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson is prepared to make an adjustment or two if needed.

“I’ve added a few things since he’s been gone in anticipation he might anticipate something from me,” he said. “It’s a good match. He’s taken over a very good team, a very good organization. He’s got a good situation. Now he gets to find out the finer points of being a manager.”

Gibson and Williams remain good friends though their contact with one another has been limited to text messages and the occasional phone call.

The two did meet and shake hands at home plate as they exchanged lineup cards prior to the game.

“You know he wants to win,” Gibson said of matching wits with Gibson. “I want to beat his ass, too, so that’s mutual.”

“I would echo those thoughts,” Williams said with a smile when told of Gibson’s pregame comments.

“We want to win. That’s why we’re here. We’re here to beat those guys and hopefully we can do that.”

Williams’ Nationals ultimately topped the Diamondbacks 6-5 on Monday.