GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Brett Jackson arrived in Cubs camp this spring with his new swing, he was encouraged by the progress he made. Yet no matter how the center fielder does, he was expected to open the season at Triple-A Iowa.
"I just try to make every day a work day," Jackson said Thursday, "and treat that work day like it's the most important work day. I've gotten a good amount of playing time and I'm happy with the way my work days are going. I put 100 percent in every day and I try to stay within every day. What's going to happen on April 1 is out of my hands."
What's been encouraging are Jackson's at-bats. Entering Thursday's game, he was batting .286 (4-for-14) in 12 games with one double, two triples, four RBIs, five walks, and five strikeouts. In 15 games last spring, he batted .276 (8-for-29) with one double, one triple, seven RBIs, six walks and 10 strikeouts.
"It's obviously nice to see the hard work pay off, and I continue to work hard and I think that's me as a player, that's me as a person," Jackson said. "Regardless of how my career goes, I know I put in 100 percent every day and I can go home every day knowing I can put 100 percent in.
"As far as hitting has gone and my at-bats, I was talking to [assistant hitting coach Rob Deer] the other day and I think more than 95 percent of my at-bats have been quality at-bats, and I think that's all I can control," Jackson said. "I have to keep working on having quality at-bats and that's all I can do, all I can control. I think I'll be the type of player who can help the team win. That's all I care about."
Jackson has gotten positive feedback from the Cubs coaching staff.
"This is a great atmosphere to be a player and to be a young player," Jackson said. "It's starting to be a really great culture. I'm excited with the guys who are around, and the coaching staff are guys you want to play for. That's encouraging and motivating."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.