Jackson improving...

NO `DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS’

Brett Jackson’s progress at the plate is noticeable not just according to statistics but what the staff sees in his plate approach.

“Fortunately, he’s not a deer in headlights up there,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s getting walks. You don’t want to live with the strikeouts but you can as long as his OPS [on base plus slugging percentage] is around .800 and the walks are there.

“He’s a guy with a lot of tools,” he added, noting Jackson’s speed in particular and how it aids his play in the outfield.

“It’s understanding the adjustments you have to make while not losing your aggressiveness.”

GAUGING THE WEATHER

Alfonso Soriano declined a potential trade to the San Francisco Giants, citing the weather conditions as one reason.

Former Cubs second baseman Ryan Theriot, now with the Giants, said the cool and windy conditions aren’t that bad.

“You rarely find yourself sweating in a game. There’s a chill in the air, no doubt, but it’s something you get used to.

“National League West pitching is pretty good too, but you get used to it. We all saw what Barry [Bonds] did so it is possible to hit home runs there,” Theriot said.

EVALUATING THIRD

Sveum has said there will be a change in the playing time for prospect Josh Vitters as his struggles at the plate have continued. Vitters isn’t discouraged.

“I’m just working on making the little adjustments that I need to right now,” he said. “It’s just something that everybody has to do as some point. I’m just gong to have to get that out of the way early, I guess. I’m really working on making a few adjustments at the plate and with my throwing mechanics as well.”

Vitters still figures in the 2012 Cubs plans at third.

“I’m extremely confident. I know I’m going to finish strong and I have no doubts about it. I’m looking to finish on a positive note and bring it into spring training with me.”

TIME CHANGE

Today’s game is a 12:05 p.m. start, changed from the original 3:05 p.m. start printed on tickets.

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