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Jackson ready to go for Cubs following struggles

Righty, who finished 2014 in bullpen, isn't dwelling on first two years in Chicago

MESA, Ariz. -- Edwin Jackson threw alongside Jon Lester, Travis Wood, and Jason Hammel on Friday, the first official workout day for Cubs pitchers and catchers. Whether Jackson will be with those pitchers in the rotation on Opening Day is up to the right-hander.

Jackson finished last season in the Cubs' bullpen, but he will be stretched out for the rotation this spring. He led the National League with 18 losses in 2013, his first year in Chicago, and went 6-15 with a 6.33 ERA last season.

"I've been just looking forward, I haven't really looked back in the past too much," Jackson said. "Those two years, they were what they were. I've been ready, getting in shape and getting ready to go."

Manager Joe Maddon met with Jackson as part of the one-on-one meetings, and the message was simply to be ready to go.

"[His] role? There's so many things that are out there that are wide open right now," Maddon said. "The biggest thing for him is to rebuild his self-confidence.

"For me, Eddie just needs to go out there and just focus on the present tense and really getting back to that moment when he throws the baseball without a whole lot of thought," Maddon said. "I believe a lot in Edwin Jackson, and I know what he's able to do, and he's a premier athlete and a baseball player."

It's been a difficult two seasons in Chicago for Jackson, who has two years remaining on his contract.

"It's kind of frustrating when you don't help your team or you don't contribute to your team," Jackson said. "That's what I'm here to do, is contribute to the team and help the team win a lot of games."

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