D-backs Rotation Takes Shape

Edwin Jackson has avoided arbitration by signing a two-year deal and the Arizona Diamondbacks have announced the order of their starting rotation. Dan Haren will be followed by Jackson and Brandon Webb. Ian Kennedy is all but locked into the #4 role and Billy Buckner is the favorite for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Right-hander Edwin Jackson became the latest in a long line of Diamondbacks to avoid the arbitration process when he agreed to a two-year, $13.35 million contract with the team just prior to his scheduled hearing in Florida.

The deal buys out Jackson's final two arbitration years as the D-backs look to fortify their rotation in the event Brandon Webb does not return in 2011 after playing the final year of his deal this season. Dan Haren is signed through 2012 with a team option for 2013.

Jackson, 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA with Detroit last season, also was named to start the second game of the season April 6 against San Diego, following Haren and preceding Webb, who will be handled gingerly following August shoulder surgery.

Jackson, a first-time All-Star last season, finished with 161 strikeouts in 214 innings. He was fourth in the AL with 33 starts last season, seventh in ERA and innings pitched (214), and ninth in most hits allowed (200). Jackson indicated that the change in leagues is not an issue.

"You have to stay within yourself," Jackson said.  "You can't change the method of the way you do things. Go about your same routine. Don't put any added pressure on yourself. Go out and play your game."

"The key is being relaxed and having fun. That allows you to play to your capabilities. That's what you have to do, regardless of the situation. If it is a new team, you have to stay within your limits and do what you are capable of doing."

Jackson is no stranger to new teams. He is 38-39 with a 4.66 ERA over parts of seven major league seasons spent with the Dodgers, Rays, and Tigers.


--RHP Dan Haren was named the opening-day starter for the April 5 game against San Diego, supplanting RHP Brandon Webb, who had made every opening-day start since 2006. The move not only is a nod to Haren's strong 2009 -- 14-10, 3.14 ERA, a career-high 223 strikeouts -- but also a way to ease Webb into the regular season. He will start the third game of the season, and he will have an extra day's rest before his second scheduled start April 13.

--RHP Edwin Jackson signed a two-year, $13.35 million contract to avoid salary arbitration, keeping GM Josh Byrnes perfect in avoiding arbitration. The deal buys out the final two years of Jackson's arbitration eligibility. Jackson went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA in Detroit last season.

--OF Justin Upton, like 3B Mark Reynolds, is another candidate for a contract extension. GM Josh Byrnes has broached the subject with both. Upton, the first player taken in the 2005 draft, was given a major league-record $6.1 million signing bonus, and he will get $1 million of that bonus in addition to his $450,000 or so salary this year. The D-backs still control Upton for the next three seasons, all of his arbitration years.

--RHP Jarrod Parker appears to be ahead of schedule after undergoing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery last October that originally was expected to cost him the 2010 season. Parker has begun playing catch at the D-backs' training facility and hopes to advance to making relief appearances in the final months of the minor league season.

--Mel Stottlemyre is to join his son, D-backs' pitching coach Mel Jr., as a pitching consultant in spring training. Stottlemyre was a long-time pitching coach with the Yankees and the Mariners. Mel Jr. is in his first full season as the D-backs' pitching coach after joining the staff when A.J. Hinch took over as manager on May 9. Stottlemyre Jr. had been the organization's minor league pitching instructor. Luis Gonzalez, who joined the D-backs' front office late last season after retiring, is also expected to help in spring training.

DIAMOND STAT: 1 -- Previous opening-day starts for RHP Dan Haren, who was chosen to start the D-backs' opener this season. He started the 2007 opener for Oakland.

QUOTABLE: "Obviously, (Dan) Haren had a spectacular season last year, got Cy Young votes, was a bright spot of last season and is very worthy of an opening-day start." -- Manager A.J. Hinch, in choosing Haren over recovering RHP Brandon Webb.

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