Camp chat: Conor Jackson


SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers first baseman/outfielder Conor Jackson comes to camp on a mission to secure a spot on the bench and as a utility guy. We caught up with the Austin native and asked him about spring training and the Rangers.

RD: Why did you want to come to Texas?

CJ: I liked the opportunity here and I like this organization. They've won back-to-back AL titles and it's a winning franchise. They've put the pieces together. I'm excited to be here. They are a resilient group. It doesn't matter how many runs you score as an opposing team, you know they're never out of game. They've got a powerful offense and a good, young pitching staff. It's becoming a dominating team.

RD: Talk about the past few years and how you're feeling about the role you are attempting to win here.

CJ: The role is a bench and utility player. That's what my role has been the past three years or so. I can play left field, right, first and third in a pinch. I've been told that's what they are looking for, and that's what I'm preparing for. There's no room for error. I've got to come out right away and show them what I'm capable of.

RD: How do you feel physically?

CJ: I feel great. Everybody always says it's the best they've felt. That's so cliché in spring training. For me, this was the first offseason where I've been fully healthy in three years. So it was about working out and getting ready pain-free. I had surgery two years ago (sports hernia) and was rehabbing that. It's been a tough three years. I was playing every day (in 2006 through 2008 in Arizona) and then basically a who season's worth of games in three years. When you miss time and miss at-bats like that, it's tough. You go into a utility role. For me to succeed, I have to be prepared for that role and know that I need to be ready to make that at-bat off the bench in the eighth inning against a lefty specialist or a spot start.

There's less room for error than playing every day. If you play every day, you can have four days in a row and know that you can snap out of it. As a utility guy, you can't. But that's part of the job and you don't make excuses. You go out and do it.