Edwin Jackson is getting closer to a possible return to Oakland.
The 35-year-old right-hander will start Friday night for Triple-A Las Vegas after pitching five innings at Class-A Stockton on Sunday. In that game, Jackson allowed two earned runs on five hits, with nine strikeouts and no walks.
Jackson agreed to a minor-league contract with the A's on April 12. The former All-Star could prove to be just what the team needs, both on the field and in the clubhouse.
Last season, Jackson went 6-3 with a 3.33 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 17 starts for the A's. He was a key part of Oakland's rotation down the stretch and quickly became one of the club's most vocal leaders.
Both Jackson and the A's shared interest in a reunion this offseason, but despite ongoing discussions, the two sides couldn't come together on a major-league contract. Jackson worked out on his own throughout the spring and stayed in baseball shape, ultimately agreeing to return to the A's on the minor-league deal last month.
Of course, A's fans shouldn't expect Jackson to be the savior, but there is no doubt he can help Oakland's undermanned starting rotation. With Aaron Brooks and Mike Fiers both struggling and Marco Estrada on the injured list, the A's are desperate for reliable arms. Jackson proved last year he could be trusted, as Oakland went 14-3 in his starts.
Jackson should also help boost team morale, especially in the midst of their current losing streak. His positive attitude and team-first mentality have made him a favorite in all 13 of his major league clubhouses. Oakland's chemistry was arguably the club's greatest strength last season and Jackson played a major role in that cohesion.
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If all goes well in Las Vegas, Jackson could be back on the A's active roster sometime this month. If nothing else, he would provide a bit of a shakeup for a team that hasn't been able to regain last year's form in any area.