Jackson, Vitters set to make Wrigley debuts

Jackson, Vitters set to make Wrigley debuts

Jackson, Vitters set to make Wrigley debuts
SAN DIEGO -- Thursday will be the first home game at Wrigley Field for Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. They'll probably have a few butterflies.

Jackson and Vitters, promoted to the big leagues on Sunday, have been to the Cubs' home park before. Jackson remembers going to a game as a fan when he turned 19 and was playing in a college summer league in Wisconsin. He had a few days off, and he went with some friends to watch a Cubs game.

"It won't be as big of a breathtaking event as it was for others when it was the first time you walk into that place," Jackson said. "Fenway's like that, too. I remember walking into there and it's like, 'Wow, this is cool.' I guarantee you it'll still be pretty incredible."

Does he expect his heart to be pumping?

"My heart's still going right now," he said.

Vitters went to Wrigley after he was selected in the 2007 Draft.

"I'm not at all nervous," Vitters said. "I'm just excited to get there. It's going to be a big moment. I've been waiting for it for a long time. It's going to be a pretty surreal experience to be back there and playing for the team."

Both Vitters and Jackson were fortunate to begin their big league careers in California, which made it easier for their families to go to the games at Dodger Stadium and Petco Park. Jackson said his parents will be in Chicago for his first games at Wrigley Field.

"It's no secret they'll have to fight the nerves and work through that pressure, and pressure that is easy to add on ourselves," said rookie teammate Adrian Cardenas about what Jackson and Vitters can expect. "They're professionals. You saw Vitters make that play at third base [on Monday]. There were questions about his defense and there he goes, first day at third base, proving he could do it, and save a run at that in a close game.

"They'll obviously enjoy it but they're professionals, they've been playing this game for a long time," Cardenas said. "I think they'll be able to separate their emotions. When they come, I'm sure they can ask themselves, 'Hey, have I prepared for this moment?' and obviously, the answer is 'yes' for both of them."

Does Cardenas remember his first game at Wrigley? You bet.

"I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be," he said of his first at-bat, which came as a pinch-hitter on May 7. "I was more nervous my first start at second base, and it took way too long to get a ground ball -- six innings and then it was Chipper Jones who hit it, and I was 20 feet from first and I thought I would throw it into the stands, but I didn't.

"After that, you realize it's the same game," he said. "It's a cliche, but you're able to calm down and say, 'Hey, I can play at this level.' Even if it's just that first ground ball, after you've thrown it to first base, that's it. You can answer honestly that I've done it before. I think that kind of settles the nerves."