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Jackson embraces new role with Cubs 'pen

Righty allows 1 hit over 2 innings in first relief appearance

DENVER -- Edwin Jackson's first relief appearance of the season went smoothly on Friday and the Cubs right-hander said he was willing to pitch on Saturday. The other relievers have welcomed him.

"It's cool," Jackson said Saturday. "I'm like an in-betweener. I still chill with the starters, still chill with the bullpen, still chill with all the pitchers. I'm an in-betweener. I'm a bullpen-starter."

Jackson began Spring Training vying for a spot in the Cubs rotation but Travis Wood got that job. On Friday, Jackson gave up one hit over two innings against the Rockies in his first relief outing.

"He's been very professional, and then he gets his chance and does really, really well and that tells you how well he's processed the whole moment," manager Joe Maddon said of Jackson. "That speaks well for him and for us."

Who knows? Jackson could get a spot start and extended innings.

"I just have to be ready for whatever situation arises and just stay in the game," Jackson said. "That's all you're trying to do. Just be ready when the phone rings and your name is called regardless of the situation."

He's not knocking on Maddon's door, asking for a start.

"I just go out and whatever job I have to get done, get it done," Jackson said. "I don't worry what I can't control. I just try to put up zeroes."

Video: CHC@ARI: Jackson fans Pollock in the 1st inning

Maddon, who had Jackson on his Tampa Bay pitching staff from 2006-08, said the right-hander hasn't complained about his new role.

"After all, you're playing on a Major League baseball team," Maddon said. "Just do your job and see how it evolves from there."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
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