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Jackson's status isn't hinging on next start
The right-hander's outing today against his former team won't be treated as make or break.
By EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Published June 24, 2007
ST. PETERSBURG - Despite starting the season winless in his first 13 outings, RHP Edwin Jackson's start today against his former team won't be treated as a make-or-break outing.
"It is as frustrating for him as anyone else, " Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
"Right now I just want him to go out there. ... Just get a better feel for pitching. And he's only going to get that from pitching."
Jackson was one strike away from pitching five innings - and earning the victory - in his last start before a cramp in his right index finger sent him out of the game. Two outings ago, Jackson got just one out for the shortest start by a Rays pitcher. But that has been Jackson's roller- coaster season.
But Maddon said he's nowhere near pulling the plug on the 23-year-old right-hander.
"Right now, E.J. is in the rotation and I'm not going to pose any ultimatums to him that if he doesn't pitch well he's not going to pitch the next time out, " Maddon said.
HICKEY GROUNDED: Pitching coach Jim Hickey will have surgery Monday to repair a detached retina in his right eye. Hickey injured the eye during a pregame golf outing Tuesday in Arizona, when he was struck by his own golf ball when it ricocheted off a cart path curb.
Roving pitching coordinator Dick Bosman will be interim pitching coach in Hickey's absence. Hickey will miss the four-game home series against the White Sox and at least the team's four-game series in Cleveland, the first stop in a three-city, 10-game road trip, because he isn't allowed to fly.
"We're looking for suggestions on how to get Hick there where he doesn't have to fly, " Maddon said. "We've already looked into the train possibility, but it's a 35-hour train ride."
LESS IS MOHR: OF Dustan Mohr, recalled from Triple-A Durham to replace Elijah Dukes on the 25-man roster, realizes playing time will be scarce.
Mohr said he learned the value of being a reserve early in his career while playing with the Twins. He asked teammate Denny Hocking, a career backup, about the key to surviving. Hocking's answer: "Do one thing each day that contributes to the team."
"That's not always playing, " Mohr said. "That's sitting in the dugout. That's keeping the morale up. Maybe a guy has a good at-bat, like (Ty Wigginton) (on Friday) had a great at-bat (in the ninth inning). He ended up striking out but it was a great at-bat. I went up there and told him, 'That was a great battle out there.' Just be upbeat and be positive."
DODGER BLUE: Spending 31 years in the Angels organization taught Maddon a lot of things - including how to hate the Dodgers.
"Part of it was because I wanted us to be like them, " Maddon said. "They had the whitest uniforms. They had this great tradition. They carried themselves in a certain way that expressed arrogance. And as much as I didn't like it, I loved it. So I wanted us to beat them all the time."
MISCELLANY: Rays 3B Akinori Iwamura, who hit his second leadoff homer Saturday, had two extra-base hits on the night and now has six extra-base hits in 11 interleague games. ... LHP Scott Kazmir is still winless at home this season, but his 2.45 home ERA is tops in the AL. ... Al Reyes converted his 17th save in 18 chances and has pitched in 25 of the Rays' 32 wins.