MESA, Ariz. – Behind Edwin Jackson, the Cubs had their coming attractions, a left side of the infield featuring Kris Bryant and Javier Baez.
Jackson approached it like a veteran, throwing all fastballs during Friday afternoon’s 7-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians at Cubs Park. After giving up three runs in three innings, Jackson said pitching coach Chris Bosio “had no clue – it was just something I came out and did.”
Jackson got thrown into the fire, making his big-league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003 and winning the game on his 20th birthday. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he has an exact theory about player development.
“There’s no specific age or time,” Jackson said. “The player will let you know when he’s ready or when he’s not. Nowadays, you’ve got guys all over the league on all different teams coming up at 19, 20 (and) having success.
“I don’t think there’s one particular formula that works. It’s different for every person. (But) one thing for sure, you’ll find out. Once they come up, the game will tell if they’re ready or not.”
The Cubs don’t expect to see Baez at Wrigley Field until this summer at the earliest, while Bryant is projected for 2015 in a best-case scenario.
Jackson is the $52 million pitcher who led the majors with 18 losses last year. After that debut, he spent parts of the next three seasons in the minors. He’s only 30 years old and has now pitched for eight different teams.
Were you brought up to the big leagues too soon?
“Who knows? I think (there are different opinions),” Jackson said. “You could say I was. You could say I wasn’t. I’ll tell you one thing: (It) made me a stronger person, just because I learned how to deal with adversity at a young age.
“It’s tough to go out and learn how to deal with failure. I guess I had the luxury of – when I did learn how to deal with failure – it was at the big-league level. I went through the minor leagues, really, without struggling. So most of my struggles came in front of a television (audience). It definitely makes you a stronger person.
“It molded me into the person I am today – to feel like whatever happens, I can make it through. I can survive whatever’s thrown at me.”