Jackson Excited For Change In Scenery

CHICAGO - For the first time in his major league career, Conor Jackson is leaving Arizona, but the five-year major league veteran is back in familiar a place, California. On Tuesday, Jackson was dealt from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for pitcher Sam Demel. The change brought him back to a state in which he spent his entire amateur career.

Conor Jackson grew up in Woodland Hills, CA, where he attended El Camino Real High School, and then Jackson went to school at University of California in Berkeley.

Jackson's professional baseball career took flight in the Golden State. Jackson excelled with the Diamondbacks' California League affiliate in Lancaster in 2004, his first full professional season. He hit .345 with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs, and was named to the California League All-Star team.

There's no doubt in Jackson's mind that he's a California guy.

"I went to college there; I'm familiar with the area," Jackson said prior to his first start with the Oakland A's on Wednesday.

"I still know a lot of people that live out there that are from there. It's going to be a comfortable fit for me."

Jackson brings the A's a solid, versatile bat and glove. The 28-year old can play multiple positions and can bat in multiple different spots in the batting order. Over his first five starts with the A's, Jackson batted in the first, second and third spots in the line-up.

However, Jackson brings more than versatility in the lineup. He can hit for power, and he can hit for contact.

Through Sunday, Jackson was batting only .249. However, the career.278 hitter was hoping to turn things around with his new team. He is batting .357 over his first five games with his new club.

Jackson was surprised when he was told that he was traded.

"This is my first trade," Jackson said. "I've been with the Diamondbacks my whole career, even coming up in the minor leagues. It's very rare for a player to be with the same team for eight, nine years, so this was definitely a shock for me."

The trade comes as a part of what is rumored to be an eventual Diamondbacks' fire sale. Arizona has settled into the basement of the NL West, and has been looking to deal some of their veteran players. Jackson joins an Oakland team that is the midst of a tight AL West race. Despite falling eight games behind Texas, the A's are anticipating being part of the playoff push during the second half of the season. The move was much-welcomed by Jackson.

"This place is a good fit for me, especially coming from a team that was 12 games back," Jackson said. "Now I'm going to a team that's in contention. I'm excited to be here."

During his five-year career, Jackson has been a part of a playoff team just once, in 2007. The Diamondbacks swept the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the playoffs, but were eventually swept by the Colorado Rockies in the NLCS. As a member of the A's, Jackson hopes to return to the postseason once again.

"That's the goal every time you step on the field, to get to that next level, and get to that playoff spot. As soon as you play 162 game, you want to play those games in October and November," Jackson said.

So now that his time in Arizona is over, Jackson admits to having mixed emotions about leaving the Diamondbacks, the only organization he has ever played for. Jackson leaves behind friends in Arizona, but he looks forward to building new bonds in Oakland.

"I've created a lot of relationships over there. It's kind of my second family. But I think it's time for me to move on. This is definitely my new second family," Jackson said.

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