PITTSBURGH -- The Mets officially announced the signing of veteran outfielder Austin Jackson on Friday afternoon. They cleared room for him on the roster by designating outfielder Matt den Dekker for assignment.Jackson, 31, began the season with the Giants, for whom he hit .242 and posted a .604 OPS over
PITTSBURGH -- The Mets officially announced the signing of veteran outfielder Austin Jackson on Friday afternoon. They cleared room for him on the roster by designating outfielder Matt den Dekker for assignment.
Jackson, 31, began the season with the Giants, for whom he hit .242 and posted a .604 OPS over 59 games. He was traded to the Rangers on July 8, but didn't appear in a game before being released by the club six days later.
Jackson's addition will add depth to an outfield that has lost Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares for the remainder of the season due to injuries.
"I think he's a guy that can fill in at all three outfield positions," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "He's got a great approach at the plate. He's great in the clubhouse. I think we really value the things that he's going to be able to bring to our young players.
"I think his leadership, his defensive ability in the outfield, and his ability to hit lefties, fill in when we need him to and to lead these younger players is going to be very valuable to us."
Callaway praised Jackson for being a great defender and for his ability to do "all the fundamental things right" on the defensive side of the ball. He stated that his ability to execute efficient routes, catch balls hit to him and hit the cutoff man will allow him to provide feedback to his teammates and make a positive impact.
With the Mets placing an emphasis on situational hitting, Jackson's plate approach meshes well with the direction the club is trending offensively.
"Austin Jackson does a great job of staying up the middle of the field, driving the ball to right-center," Callaway said. "And those are the type of things that we want our young players to hone in on. We think that's going to be valuable to our approach in the future. We think it's going to be vital to us winning more games in the future."
The 30-year-old den Dekker went 0-for-18 with a pair of walks and nine strikeouts over eight games with the Mets this season.
Mason Wittner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.