Damian Jackson Plans To Be Noticed

   VERO BEACH, Fla- This will be Damian Jackson's 16th season as a professional baseball player. Of the 15 that preceded it, he has a favorite. And that would be- "2003 with the Red Sox. I played every position but pitcher and catcher and I hit a big home run that helped get us into the playoffs."

   That homer was something of an aberration. He doesn't get many and that was the only one he had all that year. But playing different positions? That would go up near the top of his resume.

  "I'm not like those guys who do it for show like play all nine positions in one game. But if a team needs me at any spot, I can play it. "

  And play them all pretty well although he has a favorite one of those too. "Second base. by far. I was on my way to a Gold Glove playing there in 2001 with San Diego but I broke my thumb. That's the way it goes sometimes."

  Jackson not only travels from position to position, he also moves a lot from team to team. That resume is full of notations about trades and free agencies. If he makes the Dodgers, this will be seventh big league club in six years. He hasn't been with the same team for two seasons in a row since a three-year stretch with San Diego from 1999-2001.

  Since then he's worn the uniform of the Tigers, Red Sox, Cubs, Royals, Padres again and , last year, the Nationals. It's that versatility that keeps him from the unemployement line.

  That and his speed. Last year he stole only one base while being cut down three times so you might think that he's slowed up over time. True, he's 33 now but he hasn't lost his dash. The other day, he scored from first on a double. He might not be the swiftest guy in camp but he's right up there.

In that 2003 season he played for Grady Little so the manager knows what he brings to the field. That'll help in the competition for a reserve role, yet, he's only here on a minor league contract and there's people like Ramon Martinez, Fernando Tatis et al that are trying to occupy the same space.

  Still, none of them can play as many places as he can.  Whatever happens, he's ready to accept it for he's a man of deep faith who definitely has his priorities straight. "I have two children at home and they're healthy so I'm truly blessed. Why shouldn't I be happy ?"

Back in 1997 he was named  "The Most Exciting  Player" in the American Association. He may not quite be that player any more but he still feels he can stir up enough excitement for the Dodgers to pay attention.

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