Gammons Anxious to Watch Jackson

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Photography: Jon Willey

MLB.com columnist Peter Gammons wrote Tuesday about the storylines to keep an eye on in Spring Training this year.

And with much of the attention focused Brandon Webb’s way, it’s nice to see Gammons point to the significant addition the D-backs are making to the lineup this year.

 

Conor Jackson, D-backs. When one looks at Jackson’s 2009 line, it is hard to believe: 30 games, one home run, .182 average, .516 OPS. Ugh.

“Conor was never right all year,” GM Josh Byrnes says. “He didn’t feel right in Spring Training, and it worsened when the season opened. We tested him for swine flu. That wasn’t it. He had two negative tests for Valley Fever, but as it turned out, they were false negatives. He was really sick. He’d be bundled up in the clubhouse, his color was terrible.”

The correct diagnosis was finally made, Jackson was treated and returned to health. He played in the instructional league, the Arizona Fall League and spent weeks in the Dominican Winter League.

“He felt and looked great,” Byrnes says. “Conor is a very good player (.300, 12 home runs, .823 OPS in 2008). He’s very important to our team, whether he’s playing left field or first base. He’s a clubhouse leader for us. Everyone likes and respects him, and he’s important to our chemistry. He doesn’t swing and miss a lot, and he hits left-handed pitching. We’ve made some additions this offseason, but his return is as important as any of them.”

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