Brett Jackson may be ready, but Cubs don't have room yet

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Brett Jackson may be ready, but Cubs don't have room yet

MESA, Ariz. Brett Jackson has been better than advertised.

Thats the takeaway from Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who has been observing the 23-year-old outfielder for about a month now. Listening to scouts and watching minor-league video didnt tell the whole story.

When you see him in person, its been pretty impressive, every part of his game, Sveum said Wednesday. He comes to play every day. He comes to kick the other teams butt. Theres no doubt about it. (Hes) a very aggressive, confident kid whos probably going to end up playing here a long time.

So it becomes a question of when, not if, for Jackson, a 2009 first-round pick from Cal-Berkeley. Multiple club officials have noted that he already acts like he belongs.

Jackson is hitting .385 (5-for-13) in the Cactus League and has shown his speed on the bases and in the outfield. He fits Theo Epsteins ideal vision of a player who may not do one thing exceptionally well, but can make major contributions across the board.

The problem is that the Cubs have Marlon Byrd whos on an expiring contract in center field, plus Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus stationed at the corners. Right now, theres no room for Jackson on Opening Day at Wrigley Field.

I dont see that opportunity the way the roster is configured, Sveum said. You dont want the guy to sit on the bench. He still needs to go play. Unfortunately, theres not really an opening right now for that to happen.

Jackson has only played 48 games above the Double-A level, so the likely outcome is that hell play half the season at Triple-A Iowa. But is he ready for the majors?

I dont see why he wouldnt be ready, Sveum said. The last part of his game is probably just being a little better two-strike hitter, not putting himself in some of those counts with swinging and missing. As far as the ability, I dont see what else has to happen besides (that).

Honda Road Ahead: Blackhawks look to get back on track to close regular season

Honda Road Ahead: Blackhawks look to get back on track to close regular season

Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd break down the Blackhawks' upcoming schedule in the latest edition of the Blackhawks Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers.

There are less than two weeks left in the NHL regular season and teams are jockeying for playoff seeding.

The Blackhawks have the best record in the Western Conference with 103 points. The Blackhawks' next two opponents, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets, also have 103 points. Washington leads the league with 106 points.

Wednesday the Hawks will travel to Pittsburgh. Two days later they host the Blue Jackets.

After that, the Blackhawks take on the Boston Bruins on Sunday. Boston is in line for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

"There's no easy games from here on out." Konroyd said in the video. "Even teams on the outside, looking in are playing for contracts next year."

Watch the video above to see Boyle and Konroyd discuss the upcoming matchups for the Blackhawks.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks lose to Lightning in OT

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks lose to Lightning in OT

Here are some of Monday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Blackhawks blow three-goal lead, fall in OT at Lightning

How Cubs came to fully believe in the legend of Kyle Schwarber

White Sox agree to trade outfielder Peter Bourjos

Bulls Talk Podcast: March is Nikola Mirotic's month

Raiders-to-Vegas the latest in long line of NFL relocation drama, some of which included the Bears

Why Cubs fandom was inescapable in covering the greatest story in sports

Derek Holland ends spring on strong note as White Sox down Dodgers

Ex-Bear Brandon Marshall an early favorite at NFL owners meetings

Increased velocity has improved Anthony Swarzak's chances of making White Sox bullpen

Cubs will have Ian Happ one phone call away at Triple-A Iowa