Jackson Looking To Get Back Soon

STATEN ISLAND, NY - Staten Island outfielder Jhalan Jackson aims to continue his blistering hot start to the season this weekend after a sprained thumb has kept him out of the lineup for the past few games.

Jackson, 22, was drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB First Year Player Draft by the Yankees and already leads the Staten Island team with three home runs so far this season.

“I feel like my start has been great,” Jackson said. “I’ve hit three long balls in the six games I have played. With my injury now, I’m hoping to get right back out there and keep it going.”

Jackson’s thumb was injured during Staten Island’s two game series against Tri-City over a week ago in the top of the second inning when he was hit by a pitch from starter Dean Deetz. He was quickly taken out of the game in the bottom half of that same inning.

“The pitcher got me pretty good, so I’m out day-to-day,” Jackson said. “Hopefully I’ll be back this weekend. I just started swinging the bat [the other day], so we’re hoping for this weekend.”

Despite his injury, Jackson has made a fantastic impression on the Yankees with his power as well as his overall hitting ability. Before being sidelined Jackson hit for a .273 average with nine runs batted in and a .773 slugging percentage.

“He’s a stud,” Staten Island manager Pat Osborne said. “His playing speaks for itself. He’s probably been the most impactful hitter on our team in terms of damage and the way he’s impacted the baseball.”

However, Osborn is not only impressed with Jackson’s offensive power. His pitch selection and ability to hit the ball to the opposite side of the field has Osborn already convinced that he is more than a mere slugger.

“He shows the ability to lay off some tough pitches. He has shown the ability to be selective and wait for his pitch. When he gets his pitch, he does damage. He’s shown the ability to adjust and take what the pitcher gives him and hit the ball the other way.”

The numbers are enough to prove that Jackson is a force to be reckoned with at the plate. However, he is also confident in his defensive game which he feels is a natural talent. He has been playing right field for Staten Island this season and Osborn has been impressed with his game in the field as well.

“The outfield is easy for me,” Jackson said. “It’s just catching the ball and getting good reads off the bat. With shifts and adjusting to each person in the lineup, it makes the outfield easy.”

Jackson has yet to make an error in right field in his first seven games of the season.

The young outfielder was born in Winter Haven, F.L. and began his college baseball career at Hillsborough Community College. From there, he transferred to Florida Southern for his junior year where he made a name for himself as a dangerous power hitter. During the 2014-15 season, Jackson led them by far with 20 home runs and 72 runs batted in over 45 games with a .417 batting average.

“I think I will be that guy to surprise people here," Jackson said. "I’m probably under the radar, I came from a Division II school and the competition there wasn’t that good. I’m just trying to show people that I can play and I give 100 percent when I’m out there.”

The Yankees had their eye on Jackson during his time at school and in the seventh round of the Draft he was selected and wasted no time as he rushed to Tampa Bay to sign his contract that same day.

“It was an amazing feeling being selected by a historic organization like the New York Yankees. I didn’t expect to go in the round that I did,” Jackson said. “It was a great feeling. As soon as I got drafted, I made the trip over to Tampa and signed my contract the same night. I was ready to go and eager to come play.”

Jackson hopes that his game will not only bring success to himself but to the team as a whole. He brings a winning mentality that is always appreciated in the New York Yankees organization.

“I’m the type of player to just go out there and leave it all on the field and give 110 percent while I’m out there,” Jackson said. “I like winning so I’m the type of player that’s willing to do whatever it takes to win.”

Osborn anticipates a full recovery from Jackson and a successful season as a dominant player in the Staten Island lineup.

“Hopefully this is just the start to a long career with the Yankees,” Osborn said.

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