Jackson excited to jump into pennant race

Jackson excited to jump into pennant race

Jackson excited to jump into pennant race
BOSTON -- Conor Jackson went from playing out the string to entering a pennant race in an instant. Now, the question is how much playing time he will get with his new team, the Boston Red Sox.

"Whatever they need," Jackson said. "It's probably going to be a bat off the bench against left-handers. Whatever my role is going to be, I'm going to be ready for it and prepared."

Jackson was acquired from the Oakland Athletics late Wednesday night -- just as his former team was wrapping up a 16-inning loss in Cleveland -- for Minor League pitcher Jason Rice.

"Right-handed-hitting bat," said manager Terry Francona. "[He] can play right field, left field, probably the corner positions in the infield if needed. How he's going to be used, I really don't know, or how extensively, we don't know.

"I just think talking to [general manager] Theo [Epstein], the chance to get a bat that can maybe impact, especially against left-handed pitching, if something were to happen in September, say, to [Darnell McDonald], and we don't have somebody, that's not good. How we fit both of them in, some of it is probably going to be determined by how they swing the bat. There's no getting around it. How you figure that out and how you let a guy get hot enough where they can swing the bat will be our challenge, and we'll work on that."

As he joined his new teammates, Jackson didn't seem to be worried about any of that. Instead, he arrived just in time for the finale of a three-game series against the Yankees.

His thoughts?

"A lot of them," Jackson said. "A lot of them are streaming through my head. It's exciting. I'm coming from a team that was 15 games out to a team that's in the middle of a pennant race and playing in the AL East and probably one of the friendliest fan parks in the game."

Jackson was not shy about expressing his optimism about the Red Sox.

"Best team in baseball, hands down," Jackson said.

However, Jackson was also the first to admit he is hardly having his best season. In 102 games, he is hitting .249 with four homers and 38 RBIs.

"You know, a little sporadic playing time here and there, but it's something I have to be accustomed to if I want to have some longevity in this game," said Jackson. "I think that's going to be my role here. I'm going to be prepared. Preparation is pretty much the only thing I can do right now."

Jackson wasn't in the lineup on Thursday against righty A.J. Burnett. He could get a chance this weekend, as the Sox face two lefties -- Derek Holland on Friday and Matt Harrison on Sunday.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.