Notes: Jackson impresses Maddon

Notes: Jackson impresses Maddon

ARLINGTON -- The plan was simple. Edwin Jackson was to make one start in place of the injured Mark Hendrickson and quietly return to the Minors next week when Hendrickson returns.

But after Saturday night, it's not so simple anymore.

With the exception of a four-walk, four-run disaster in the second inning, Jackson was brilliant in a 6-5 loss to the Rangers, allowing three hits in seven innings and mowing down the last 11 batters he faced.

Because of that, Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said on Sunday that he's in discussions with team executive vice president Andrew Friedman about the possibility of altering the plan, though for now, the 22-year-old right-hander is still scheduled to go back to Triple-A Durham by Thursday, when Hendrickson is expected to start against the Yankees.

"There's no timetable," Maddon said. "I'm in a discussion with Andrew -- last night and today into tomorrow -- and we'll talk about it further, but for right now, there's no change in the originally announced plan. It's a fluid situation, as everything we do is. There's just a discussion -- nothing specific. He exceeded expectations last night."

Though Jackson had a strong spring and was one of the last players released from the Major League roster, he went over and above what the Rays had previously seen from him.

That makes for a tough decision, but Maddon said that kind of decision is exactly what every manager hopes for.

"He got angry -- in a good way," Maddon said of Jackson's performance. "It was so noticeable. When he came off the mound, he had this look -- different, really intense. You could see he had a conversation going on with himself, and he was winning that conversation.

"We liked him in Spring Training. What you saw last night exceeded Spring Training by a lot. Not just a little bit. ... With a guy like that, you never know when it's going to happen. ... You don't know when the light just goes on and everything just fires properly and someone says to themselves, 'Now I get it, now I understand, now I know what they mean.' That moment can happen at any time. I think it happened to him last night."

Going, going ... The other would-be hero in Saturday night's heartbreaking loss was Ty Wigginton, who hit his eighth home run of the season, a three-run shot with two out in the ninth, to tie the game. That puts him more than halfway to his career high of 17, set in 2004, and it's not even May.

"I don't know what it is, and I don't want to try to figure it out," Wigginton said of his power surge. "I just want to run with it, and whatever it is, it is."

Wigginton has worked extensively with hitting coach Steve Henderson since Spring Training, but Henderson said that the biggest difference in the veteran infielder is that he is more relaxed at the plate.

That comes, in part, from knowing that he will be in the lineup every day, something he didn't know when he signed as a free agent in the offseason. But when Aubrey Huff was injured, Wigginton became the everyday third baseman, and he's been crushing the ball ever since, hitting seven homers in his past 11 games.

"He's getting a chance to play and promote himself within a new group," Maddon said. "He's no dummy. He knows what that means for him and his career. He's taking advantage of every opportunity. This guy loves to play. He does not want to come to the ballpark and sit down, ever -- for us or anybody else. He sees his opportunity, and you're seeing a guy that's very focused."

Wigginton has also been clutch. Six of his eight homers this season have tied the game.

Says you! When Maddon charged out of the dugout to argue umpire Eric Cooper's call that Tomas Perez missed second base in the ninth inning on Saturday, he provided a textbook example of the art of arguing.

Maddon said that he didn't see the play, and he came out of the dugout to back up Perez, who was protesting the call.

"I told him, 'I don't know what happened. I can't see from in there, Eric. I can't see the play. But my shortstop's yelling, so I've got to come out here,' " Maddon recalled. "He just continued to tell me what he thought, and he respected it. And he was right. It just depends on the moment. I like to be able to maintain my composure, because when you get like that, you tend to stop thinking well."

Still, Maddon said that sometimes, a manager has no choice but to argue.

"I don't know if I put on a show, but, yeah, you have to do that," he said. "And the umpires know you have to do it. It is a part of the game. The biggest concern I have is that when you do something like that, you don't lose your train of thought. ... I think you do sometimes if you do it too often. You can't be angry and do this. ... You get upset, but you have to be un-upset as quickly as you can."

Hot foot? Second baseman Jorge Cantu has begun to heat up, collecting two hits in each of the first two games of the Texas series and extending his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI double in the third inning on Sunday.

Part of the reason for his streak might be the bruised left foot he suffered earlier this season. While it kept him out of five games, it also changed his batting stride for the better.

"He's still not 100 percent," Maddon said. "But sometimes, you land too hard on your stride foot, and that can cause a lot of problems. Now, he's about landing softly. I'm seeing good at-bats out of him."

Next up: The Rays have Monday off before beginning a three-game series against the Yankees in New York on Tuesday. Young left-hander Scott Kazmir (2-1, 4.07 ERA) will open for the Rays against New York's Mike Mussina (2-1, 2.67 ERA).

Andy Friedlander is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.