Fair

Jackson fitting in with Cubs

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

MESA, Ariz. – Edwin Jackson got off to a neat, clean start with the Cubs.

Signed as a free agent to a four-year deal worth $52 million, Jackson pitched two scoreless innings Tuesday in his first spring outing as the Cubs beat the Colorado Rockies, 4-2.

“Today’s just pretty much an evaluation day for me,” he said, “to see where I am with things.”

The 29-year-old righty has a multiyear contract for the first time in a major league career that began in 2003. He previously pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay, Arizona, the White Sox, St. Louis and Washington.

Jackson, who pitched a no-hitter for Tampa Bay in 2010 and won a World Series title with the Cardinals in 2011, was 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA last year with the NL East champion Nationals.

Jackson gave up a pair of two-out singles in the first inning but retired his final four batters.

“It definitely feels good when you know you have some stability on a team,” said the 29-year-old Jackson, who pitched for six teams in five years before signing with the Cubs. “But at the same time, you can’t get too complacent to where you let it get you to relax. You still have to have some kind of edge about you when you take the field.”

Off the field, Jackson’s easy demeanor has made him a quick fit with new teammates.

“He’s been great,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s got that personality and work ethic and professionalism. And teammates like him already.”

Jackson said he’s learned to get comfortable anywhere.

“It’s not my first rodeo. I’ve been around the game. I’ve been fortunate enough to join loose clubhouses, and this is definitely one of those clubhouses where everybody’s having fun but taking care of business at the same time,” said Jackson, who’s penciled into a top three of the Cubs’ rotation that also includes Jeff Samardzija and Matt Garza.

“It definitely makes it easier for you to come in and get acclimated with everything that’s going on.”

Cubs outfielder Dave Sappelt, in the running for a backup job, homered leading off the sixth. He also singled.

Christian Villanueva added a home run for the Cubs.

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