White Sox welcome veteran Jackson
Until he can get on the field, Jackson apparently will pay his dues in practical jokes.
The White Sox have scheduled the right-hander to make his debut with the club on Wednesday at Detroit against a Tigers team he played with last season.
"From worst to first" is how Jackson described his move from the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks to the division-leading White Sox.
The team considers his 5.16 ERA, his National League-leading 77 earned runs and 13 wild pitches as an upgrade over rookie Daniel Hudson, who was dealt to the Diamondbacks in Friday's trade.
With Jackson's name included in a rumored three-way deal between the Diamondbacks, White Sox and Washington Nationals, where Adam Dunn would eventually come to the South Side, there was no certainty until the non-waiver trade deadline passed that Jackson would really be a member of the White Sox.
As a precaution, the club had already drafted a press release in case Dunn was added. And Jackson's locker wasn't set up until after the 3 p.m. CST deadline.
"It's been pretty hectic," Jackson said about the last 48 hours before the deadline. "I try to stay away from it as much as possible and just wait for phone calls and try to stay away from the computers and Internet and the he said, she said. I just kind of keep it as calm as I can and it seems to work."
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Manager Ozzie Guillen plans on giving Jackson the ball every fifth day and is more comfortable that a veteran is in the rotation instead of the inexperienced Hudson.
"I don't know how many starts he's going to have, maybe 12 or 13 starts," Guillen said. "Hopefully those starts that he has with us are good ones. Give the team a chance to win, that's all we ask. There's a good thing about it, he's got experience, and he's pitched in the American League before. That's a step forward for us."
Everything that is good and bad about Jackson was encapsulated in a single night on June 25 when he no-hit the Tampa Bay Rays, but gave up eight walks in the process and threw 149 pitches.
"I guess it was meant to be," Jackson said. "That's the only thing I can think of. It was definitely an unorthodox no-hitter. It didn't happen in the normal no-hitter fashion, but I'll take it."
When the right-hander has his first bullpen session Sunday with pitching coach Don Cooper, the two will work on a mechanical adjustment Cooper wants to try. It was something Cooper identified while watching videotape of Jackson in advance of the trade.
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"It's just something mechanically; it's a simple problem," Jackson said. "Most of the time you see somebody in a funk, most of the time there is a simple solution. It's just a matter of finding out what it is. We have a chance to ... get everything straightened out."
Not only will Jackson have to get used to Cooper's ways, but he is also in the process of learning his new manager's style.
"[Guillen] is a cool guy now that I get to see him from a different perspective," Jackson said. "I've always seen him from across the [field]. Now I get to see him as a manager. It's like one of those situations where you have some people as an opponent and you don't like them and as a teammate you love them. So it's definitely going to be one of those cases."
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
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