|Conor Jackson looking to move on from his ‘whirlwind’ month with Red Sox||01.27.12 at 1:24 pm ET|
GILBERT, Ariz. — Life with the Red Sox has often served as a springboard for some players. They might be dropped in mid-season, find a role and supply a Bobby Kielty-like heroic moment somewhere in the midst of a postseason run.
It didn’t work out that way for Conor Jackson.
The 29-year-old, who was dealt from Oakland to the Red Sox on Aug. 31 for minor league pitcher Jason Rice, currently finds himself spending his mornings working out with Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, Yankees catcher Russell Martin, Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier and a smattering of minor leaguers in a custom-made barn in back of Ethier’s house.
That’s the fun part. The waiting to hear about a job is another story.
Jackson is one of the remaining free agents still looking for a job with just a few weeks to go until spring training.
“I’m a realist,” Jackson said. “I understand an everyday job is probably not available right now. It’s going to be coming off the bench. You look for outfielders who are left-handed, a first baseman who is young and spots you’ll get an opportunity to get some at-bats.
“I’m just searching for the right opportunity. Free agency is not fun these days. Obviously at the end of the day you have to be a realist. That’s the big thing. I just want people to be honest with me where I stand with them. I understand nothing is going to be handed to me. I’ve had a couple of bad years so I have to prove I can play everyday again.”
As for the Red Sox, that door seemingly closed for good when the team signed another right-handed-hitting option, Cody Ross, to fill out their outfield rotation.
“I think they’re set now, especially after the signing of Cody,” Jackson said. “It looks like they have their five and will stick with that.”
Jackson never found his stride with the Red Sox, due in large part to injuries. The first came during his second start with the team, when he crashed into the Fenway Park right field wall, resulting in a knee injury. Later in the month, it would be the left field wall where a collision would take place, leading to another banged up knee.
He did have his moment, however, coming in an 18-9 Red Sox rout of the Orioles at Fenway when the righty hitter launched a grand slam over Fenway’s left field wall. But when the sting with the Sox was all said done, Jackson was left with 12-game resume in which he managed just three hits in 19 at-bats.
“It was a disappointing finish for me, and just the Red Sox in general,” he said. “Getting traded to a franchise like that, you wan to play as much as you can. Unfortunately my first start lingered for quite a while after I banged into that wall. It was a pretty salty taste in my mouth after finishing like that.
“It was an experience. It was a whirlwind. I’ve never seen another team’s reporters come in and cover another team. That was different. But it was a fun experience.”
Jackson on former A’s teammate, and new Red Sox closer, Andrew Bailey: “Just a stud. A light’s out closer. When I was playing in Oakland I don’t remember him blowing a save. He’s got really good stuff. He’s going to fill in for Pap pretty well, and that’s a tough thing to do. It’s a good move to Boston. He’s going to transition pretty well.”
Jackson on former Oakland teammate, and current Red Sox outfielder, Ryan Sweeney: “One of the better defensive guys I’ve seen better. He can swing it, too. He just hits line-drives. That will be a nice addition.”
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