2/16 Brett Jackson finds joy in game again

It took a clinic with 9 and 10 year old kids to help Brett Jackson find joy in baseball again.

Jackson is coming off a year he’d like to forget. Once one of the Cubs top prospects, the outfielder struggled with injuries, was demoted, and finished with a .210 average, and 121 strikeouts in 95 games.

“It took a lot of hard work and a lot of soul searching,” he said Sunday. “I’ve never been more excited to be back in Spring Training, I’ve never been more excited to be back on the field. When you’re not playing well, the game’s not fun. I wasn’t having fun last year — I was hurt and struggling.

“I rediscovered that fun a little bit this offseason,” he said. “I feel I’m in the best physical shape I’ve been in and the best mental state I’ve been in in a long time. I’m very confident coming into camp and am excited to be part of this new regime.”

Part of the change in attitude occurred because of the clinic that he and his childhood friend, Lars Anderson, conducted in Berkeley, Calif.

“I want to get back to that, I want to get back to playing for fun and playing for the guys and playing for the team,” he said. “So much has been on performing on an individual level that I’ve forgotten the importance of why I play and the reason I play. I’m back to have fun and enjoy it and to win.”

The Cubs have had high expectations for Jackson since selecting him in the first round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of California, Berkeley. He batted .297 in 2011 at Triple-A Iowa, but the next season, hit .256 and struck out 158 times in 106 games.

Don’t ask him about the strikeouts any more.

“It’s something I’m not going to acknowledge moving forward,” Jackson said. “I can’t put a finger on it. The last couple years have been a search for finding myself at the plate and overcoming the pressures I was putting on myself. The strikeouts were in the corner of my mind — being told I was striking out too much. Not to put the blame on anyone but myself. I’m confident in the adjustments I’ve made. That’s something I can improve on.”

The Cubs gave Jackson an offseason program that included improving his mental approach to the game. He addressed that as well as looking at videos of successful players. He hasn’t reverted to his old swing, but it’s more natural now.

“The changes I was trying to make last year had all the right intentions and all the right cues for me to become a better player,” he said. “However, I was fighting my nature, I was fighting who I was as a natural athlete and I think that made my time at the plate a struggle.

“Having said that, I’m thankful for last year and I’m thankful for what happened and overcoming the injuries I had and the challenges I had at the plate and on the field. I feel the best I’ve felt moving into Spring Training.”

– Carrie Muskat

6 Comments

Keeping an open mind on this one. I am not going to be critical, just wait & see if he means what he says?

What a big plus it would be for the Cubs if Jackson comes out of Spring Training as the Cubs starting CF and becomes the player that people projected……

Ryan Dempster looks like he is calling it a career………told the Red Sox he is taking the year off……….he was spotted along our lake shore this winter doing work out routines………

add the Red Sox to the list of teams where Shark can end up with by July…..

Edwin Jackson had the worst non-strike calls by any MLB pitcher in 2013……I can attest to that after seeing so many Jackson’s third strikes not being called by the umps….

USA Hockey team won again this morning…….. that NBC Tara Lipinski chick is hot looking……and .the bobsled events happens this week…..

Going to be 80- 85 and sunny all week in Mesa…..and four inches of snow coming on Monday in Chicago.

What was the biggest addition to the Chicago Cubs this past winter…..

A – Renteria
B – Hammel
C – Veras
D – Bonifacio
E – Cubs Bleacher Scoreboard Signs
F – Addison the Bear

I read that article on the UMPS and Jackson. Hoping Renteria brings that up at home plate before every Jackson start.
I read where the Mariners are interested in Shark, be nice to get Marlette and Hultzen.
Not going to make a prediction on biggest addition, hope they all do well. I would guess it would be A through D though.

correct answer would be “E”…….”E” would bring in new advertise income that would bring in the big name free agents down the road when the Cubs are ready to compete.

the trade offers will be plenty when July comes around for Shark……I really don’t know who will get Shark, but the prospects return will be overwhelming……expect at least two more top prospects in our system.

I hope Veras ,Hammel are. Hows Hammel looking?

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