In the middle of the game, manager Manny Acta took Williams aside and told him not to show his anger after making a mistake.
"I don't think being mad helps anybody. I think when people are mad, they don't think straight," Acta said before Wednesday's game against the Phillies. "I just tried to make him relax; I want him to execute his pitches. After that, he can't control the rest."
Both Acta and pitching coach Randy St. Claire said Williams used a poor choice of words when he said that he lost confidence. Williams, according to St. Claire, should have said he is trying too hard to show that he belongs in the big leagues and perform the way he did with the Giants in 2003, his rookie season. Acta indicated Williams is giving the wrong message to the organization and the rest of the league.
St. Claire had a meeting with Williams on Wednesday to discuss the problems on the mound.
"I think that he's trying too hard instead of just trusting his stuff," St. Claire said. "The harder you try to do things, your mechanics go out of whack. When he gets a little tired out there -- after the third or second inning -- he rolls through a lineup quickly. Early in the game, he is getting too revved up and he's overdoing things."
Acta said he will continue to put Williams on the mound every fifth day with the hope he gets his confidence back.
Good news: On Wednesday afternoon, first baseman Nick Johnson was running slant patterns like a wide receiver. Johnson has been doing the drill since early last week. It shows how far Johnson has come since breaking his right leg last September.
"I'm taking a page out of Marvin Harrison's book," Johnson joked. "The leg is getting stronger."
While Johnson wouldn't say when he would return to action, he is looking to play before the season comes to an end.
"I'm not going to set a date. When I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go," Johnson said.
Transaction completed: The Nationals selected the contract of outfielder Michael Restovich from Triple-A Columbus and optioned outfielder Kory Casto to Columbus on Wednesday. In order to put Restovich on the roster, the Nationals moved left-hander Michael O'Connor from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.
Restovich, 28, joins the Nationals after hitting .278 (10-for-36) with one RBI in 11 games with the Clippers.
The Nationals are overloaded with left-handed hitters, and Washington is hoping Restovich can provide power from the right side of the plate.
Lack of power is the reason Restovich wasn't on the Opening Day roster. Restovich acknowledged that he tired too hard to hit home runs during the exhibition season, but plans to go for just base hits this time around.
"I don't concern myself with hitting home runs. I concern myself with swinging the bat well. That's when the home runs show up," Restovich said. "I didn't do it in Spring Training, and I'm sure that not hitting home runs is a big reason I didn't make the team [then]. ... I don't blame them."
Minor League news: With some top prospects off to cold starts, the Nationals sent Minor League coordinator Tim Foli and pitching coordinator Spin Williams to Class A Hagerstown.
Positions players Stephen King, Chris Marrero and Justin Maxwell are hitting .245 or lower and four of their five starters -- Edulin Abreu, Matthew Perks, Marco Estrada and Jhonny Nunez -- have ERAs over 5.00.
For now, the Nationals are not in a panic, believing cold weather is to blame for the performances.
Hagerstown is 4-8 entering Wednesday's action.
No, thanks: The Rockies placed right-hander Brian Lawrence on waivers, but the Nationals do not have interest in him, according to a baseball source. Lawrence was on the Nationals' roster last year, but he never played a game for them because of a torn rotator cuff and labrum.
Send in your question: The Nationals mailbag appears every Monday. Send in your questions now, and make sure to include "Mailbag" in the subject line.
Stat of the day: In his last eight games entering Wednesday, Chris Snelling has a .463 on-base percentage.
Did you know: Entering Wednesday's action, the Nationals are 2-7 at RFK and 2-3 on the road.
Coming up: The Nationals return to RFK to play the second game of a two-game series against the Phillies on Thursday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Washington right-hander John Patterson (0-2, 7.07) will face Philadelphia left-hander Jamie Moyer (1-1, 3.55).
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less