WASHINGTON — Has Brett Jackson already done enough to suggest he’ll be the Cubs’ Opening Day center fielder next year?
“I’m not going to guarantee anything like that,” Sveum said, “but he’s shown enough that there’s a lot to work with and [given] some adjustments, then there might be something pretty special.”
Certainly, it’s a major work in progress for the strikeout-prone Jackson whose month-old career average in the big leagues dipped to .188 when he struck out as a pinch-hitter in Monday’s eighth – giving him nearly three times as many strikeouts (43) as hits (16).
But without much foreseeable in-house competition and little promise of significant outside additions next winter, Jackson could at least have the inside track – with a winter-ball season of additional auditions expected to come.
Before going 0-for-11 with six Ks against San Francisco and Washington pitching the last four days, Jackson had run off a 7-for-19 (.368) week against Colorado and Milwaukee that included three homers, three doubles, eight walks and six RBIs.
“We all know watching the games that we have to make some pretty big adjustments this winter to handle this kind of pitching on a daily basis,” Sveum said of the kid who leads professional baseball with 201 strikeouts. “And he knows that.”