Edwin Jackson made three appearances out of the bullpen for the Baltimore Orioles in June before he was designated for assignment and opted for free agency. Jackson, 33, signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals and made five appearances (four starts) at Triple-A Syracuse, giving up a run on nine hits, walking 10 batters (4.43 BB/9) and striking out 22 (9.74 K/9) in 20 1⁄3 innings before he was called up last week.
Jackson went seven innings against the Los Angeles Angels, giving up three hits and two earned runs in a 4-3 win. He didn’t walk a single batter, which was a big deal for the right-hander.
Dusty Baker was asked after that outing if Jackson earned another turn in the Nats’ rotation.
“He threw the ball well, so I don’t think that’s a question,” Baker said.
Jackson chalked the successful outing up to attacking opposing hitters and throwing strikes.
“Just attacking the zone, just attacking the strike zone, making the hitters put the ball in play and letting the defense work behind me,” Jackson said.
“My biggest thing has always been walks, walks, walks, walks, walks, behind in the count and walks, and then you get a big hit, and I’ve just been trying to focus on coming out and putting an attack on hitters and making them put the ball in play.”
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies last Wednesday that he was impressed with Jackson’s outing against the Angels, and hoped he could fill in and help to cover for Joe Ross, who underwent Tommy John surgery this week.
“We feel good about the opportunity that we’re giving Edwin,” Rizzo said. “I think he’s going to grab it and run with it, that’s his personality.
“The stuff and performance that he’s shown recently gives us reason to believe that he’ll be successful.”
Jackson said he was happy to get another shot at starting in the majors, and hoped he could contribute.
“I’m out here to cherish every moment,” the 15-year veteran said.
“Like I said, I’ve been through my ups, I’ve been through my downs, I’ve been in Triple A, I’ve had people asking me why am I still here, why am I still playing, I’ve made some money in the game, why don’t I just go home and enjoy the family? But I still feel like I have something in the tank and I still feel like I don’t have anything to prove to anyone else, I still have something to prove to myself, that I can go out and I can be effective and I can be efficient and I can help this team do something that they’ve already been on the path to doing.”
Tonight in the nation’s capital, Jackson makes his first start as a National in Nationals Park since back in 2012, when the right-hander went (10-11) in 31 starts, with a 4.03 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 58 walks (2.75 BB/9), and 168 Ks (7.97 K/9) in 189 2⁄3 IP before leaving as a free agent to sign with the Chicago Cubs.