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News » Arizona Diamondbacks Inside Pitch 2008-04-22

Arizona Diamondbacks Inside Pitch 2008-04-22

Arizona Diamondbacks Inside Pitch 2008-04-22
Conor Jackson is off to the best start in his career, and he credits that to a sense of security brought by the fact that the Diamondbacks' first-base job is his and his alone this season.

Jackson is hitting .377 (20-53) with four doubles, three triples, three home runs and 17 RBIs in his first 17 games despite missing time with an upper respiratory infection and a sore hand after being hit by a pitch.

"I've been hearing a lot about what I did this off-season," he said. "The thing is, it's no different than any off-season. There's a misperception that I worked out harder. It wasn't that at all. It was more of a mental focus and a mental preparation than anything.

"The fact that I'm going to be the everyday guy really changed the way I looked at it. They said I was going to be the starter the last year before this, but it really wasn't the case."

Jackson occasionally gave way to since-departed Tony Clark for defensive purposes in the late innings the previous two seasons, and Clark platooned with Jackson during the D-Backs' stretch run last season. The only time Jackson has missed this season is because of injury or illness.

He was the NL Player of the Week after going 12-for-25 with a league-high 10 RBIs for the week ending Sunday. He does seem to have gotten faster after a strenuous off-season training program. He has three triples in 17 games after getting two in his previous 310 major league games.

Jackson turned down a cycle -- he already had a homer, triple and single -- to stretch a double into a triple Friday, setting up a sacrifice fly by Mark Reynolds.

"My goal was to come out to a hot start and keep rolling. The plan is not to stop and reflect on how well I'm going but just take it in stride," Jackson said. "We're winning. That's the biggest thing. It would leave a sour taste if we weren't."

DIAMONDBACKS 4, GIANTS 2: Micah Owings tied teammate Brandon Webb and two others for the major-league lead with four victories in his fourth consecutive quality start and the D-Backs hit three more home runs, including Eric Byrnes' two-run shot in the fifth. Byrnes' home gave the Diamondbacks the lead for good. Chad Qualls threw one pitch to get his fourth double play grounder in 10 2/3 innings this season. Qualls preserved a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 22, 2008

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