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Jackson's starting role coming to a close?

8/21/2014

CHICAGO -- The end of the line might be in sight for Chicago Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson's hopes of remaining a starter after his latest performance. He lasted only 2 2/3 innings against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night and gave up seven runs in an 8-3 loss.

"No one wants to be moved," Jackson said about a possible new role in the bullpen. "The only thing you can do if you don't like it is go out there and pitch out of jams. I have to get back to having fun. Tonight was an example of absolutely not doing that. Just being uptight and battling yourself."

Jackson has never shied away from explaining his woes, but the time for explanations is about over. The Cubs seemingly have to take action on the pitcher with the highest ERA (6.09) among regular starters.

"We're going to assess and evaluate and see where we go," manager Rick Renteria said.

In fact, Renteria said that about three times, which revealed little in words but plenty in meaning.

"It's command," he said. "His velocity is still decent."

Said Jackson: "It's just terrible. There is no excuse for it. I didn't help myself. I didn't help my team."

It was batting practice for the Giants, as the only out among the first seven batters came on a sacrifice fly. Jackson gave up line drives and several home runs.

"If it happens, it happens," Jackson said of being taken out of the rotation. "I haven't made it an easy decision for the organization or the team."

The bigger picture is what to do with Jackson over the remainder of his contract. He is owed $22 million the next two seasons. Will the Cubs simply eat most or all of that salary? A team turning the corner with young players is going to have a hard time finding a place for him. But that's for six weeks from now. At this moment, a move to the bullpen seems to be in order.

"If that's the case, I haven't fought to not make that a case," Jackson said. "Would I be happy? I haven't done anything to help it. You have to pitch deep into games. ... It's pretty much black and white. There's no gray area. I'll deal with it when it comes."