CHICAGO – If noted baseball agitator AJ Pierzynski is expecting a less than warm reception from the Wrigley Field crowd this weekend, than former Chicago Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson shouldn't be surprised to hear a similar reaction.
“It’s nothing new,” Jackson said of the boos he’ll undoubtedly hear. “Nothing I haven’t heard before. You still have to get outs.”
Jackson returns to Chicago as a member of the Atlanta Braves for the first time since being released last month. He spent 2.5 years with the Cubs after signing a 4-year, $52 million deal in 2012. Almost immediately things went south for the 13-year veteran.
“The thing you regret is the way things turned out the first two years, but that’s the game of baseball,” Jackson said. “You hope you could have done better for the city and make it more exciting, but it didn’t work out that way.”
Jackson produced a 5.37 ERA during his time as a Cub while losing his starting job this spring after going 14-33 in his first two years. His Cubs career might be summed up by a canceled start this past spring training when he went to the wrong stadium. Months later he was looking for work despite being owed over $16 million on his contract.
“I had 10 days with nothing to do but watch baseball all around, so I’ve pretty much seen everything that’s been going on,” Jackson said. “It’s a little different to be on the other side.”
Jackson joined the Braves earlier this month appearing in three games so far without giving up a run. He’s kept tabs on the Cubs though.
“They’ve been a roll to say the least,” Jackson said. “The team’s playing well. It was just a matter of time. There is a lot of potential in that clubhouse.”
Jackson will undoubtedly face some friends as the Braves are in town for four games. It’s something he’s experienced many times having played on nine major league teams.
“I’ve faced teammates throughout my career,” he said. “It’s like high school all over again. You have friends you face over and over.”