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Alex Jackson took batting practice on the field with the Mariners pregame. He didn’t hit any home runs, but he hit plenty of hard line drives – spraying them to all fields.
He was all smiles around the cage when he was talking with players. But he was also business inside of the cage.
“It’s been unbelievable,” he said. “It’s one of those experiences you can only have once in your life. It’s definitely an honor. I was very glad I was able to do it. Big thanks to the Mariners for giving me the opportunity. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Jackson admittedly had some butterflies stepping into the cage.
“You go up there with a little bit of nerves, but at the same time all the players are there helping you out,” he said. “It was great.”
Jackson signed for a reported $4.2 million, eschewing a scholarship offer from Oregon.
“It’s a tough decision,” he said. “It was two big opportunities in my life. I really do think I made the best decision. I know I’m in a happy place. I’m glad to be here. Everything went well.”
The Mariners were happy to get the deal done quickly and not go up to the deadline in July.
“I think we are all very excited,” GM Jack Zduriencik said. “It was a good relationship. He wants to play. I think that was foremost. When you have a player that wants to play, that is great. I think the relationship that Scott and I have developed over the years certainly aided in getting the kid signed quickly.
Jackson will fly to Arizona to join the rookie league team there.
“I just want to get out there and play,” he said. “I just wanted to get out and play hard and have a good time and help my team.”
How long he stays there is up to his performance.
In past years, the Mariners top draft picks have started in short season Everett. But they were college bats. Jackson is just 18 years old. The organization does view him as an advanced player that should move up quickly. But they won’t rush him. If he tears it up in Arizona, he’ll move up. But he could also spend all summer in Arizona as well.
“You are always careful to put timetables on kids,” Zduriencik said. “Let him go out there and play. We think he’s going to move quickly, but just let him go out and play. His performances and how he advances will dictate how quickly he moves. But right now, we’ll let him get his feet wet in Arizona and see what happens from here.”