Texas Rangers

Rookie Jackson adds another power arm to Rangers’ bullpen

Luke Jackson held Pacific Coast League hitters to a .187 average after moving to the bullpen early in the season.
Luke Jackson held Pacific Coast League hitters to a .187 average after moving to the bullpen early in the season. Star-Telegram

Luke Jackson said that he was still a bit in awe of his first promotion to the major leagues, and the recently converted reliever also said that eventually he’d like to be given another chance at starting for the Texas Rangers.

But there were zero complaints from the rookie right-hander, who was recalled from Triple A Round Rock on Thursday along with fellow righty Anthony Bass. Both were available Friday night as the Rangers opened a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners.

Jackson gives the Rangers another power arm in the bullpen, capable of throwing in the mid-90s, to go with the recently acquired Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson. Jackson held Pacific Coast League hitters to a .187 average after moving to the bullpen early in the season.

He likes the unknown of being a reliever, where there isn’t time to ponder what might happen in a start or spend days mulling what might have gone wrong.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time there,” Jackson said. “Maybe it’s just the quick adrenaline rush you get when you get the phone call and have to get ready, get warm, get hot and get going. There’s no nerves when you get to the park.”

Jackson moved smoothly through the Rangers’ farm system until reaching Triple A last season. He struggled then, in part because he thought he was closing in on a shot in the majors and needed to make an impression.

Instead, his ERA ballooned to 10.35 in 11 games/10 starts and was 5.64 after five starts when he was moved to the bullpen.

“Just go with the flow,” Jackson said. “I was all for it, and I just tried to make the best of it.”

Getting coached up

Manager Jeff Banister and seven other coaches and support staff who travel with the Rangers visited Seattle Seahawks training camp Friday morning, though to visit with coach Pete Carroll and not quarterback Russell Wilson.

Banister said that he didn’t want to bother any players as they get ready for the season, even the Rangers’ minor-league second baseman Wilson. Instead, Banister and his coaches wanted to pick the brain of Carroll, a Super Bowl-winning coach, and others in the group met with their football counterparts.

The talk with Carroll reassured Banister that some of the ideologies he believes in are shared by winning coaches. He and Carroll even talked about grit, something that Banister and Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle discussed often.

“When Clint and I first got together, we talked about just what grit was and can you quantify it, can you teach it, can you instill it?” Banister said. “It was ironic that Coach Carroll actually brought that up and how they are looking into that and how they feel they can instill that and teach that.

“I do believe that grit and determination and resilience actually make an ordinary team a championship team. Now, you’ve got to have talent, but even with talent you have to have those qualities.”

Perez’s encore

Left-hander Martin Perez might be able to duplicate what he did Sunday, allowing only two hits and throwing only 80 pitches in 8 1/3 innings, but he can repeat the adjustments that allowed for his success when he starts Saturday at Safeco Field.

Perez said that he took a deep breath before each pitch, allowing him to slow the game down and sharpen his focus, and he also kept his chin up to keep his eye on the target longer.

He also got ahead of hitters, which was just as important.

“I want to attack the hitters early,” Perez said. “Throwing first-pitch strikes gave me a lot of confidence and made me more comfortable. It’s harder for the hitter to hit the ball with one strike. That’s what I want every time.”

Perez, 24, will be making his fifth start since Tommy John surgery. He is 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA in his career against the Mariners.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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