With prom and other high school obligations out of the way, Alex Jackson stepped into the batter’s box at Safeco Field on Monday after Robinson Cano.
This, suddenly, is the 18-year-old’s world after the Seattle Mariners made him the sixth overall pick and paid a reported $4.2 million bonus to sign him.
Jackson, a right-handed power hitter out of San Diego, was officially signed Monday before taking batting practice in the place he hopes to be. He played catcher in high school, but will be an outfielder for the Mariners. Jackson will report to the rookie-level Arizona League Mariners in Peoria, Arizona, on Tuesday (June 24).
“It’s been unbelievable,” Jackson said of the process.
With his family in the back row at a press conference, general manager Jack Zduriencik and scouting director Tom McNamara to his right, and his adviser Scott Boras to his left, the repeated term from Mariners’ management when referring to Jackson was “power.”
“This kid has a very unique skill set,” Zduriencik said.
Jackson was also well-schooled with his answers. He said he’ll carry his catching equipment with him but doesn’t care where he plays. He was asked to give a self-scout, yet chose not to, saying he didn’t like to talk about himself.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder was rated by Baseball America as the top position player in the draft (and the fourth overall prospect). Jackson was also named to the 2014 Perfect Game First Team All-American and California All-Region First Team after his senior season.
In four seasons with Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, Jackson batted .375 with 35 doubles, six triples, 47 home runs and 127 RBIs in 135 games with the Broncos. His 47 high school career home runs tied him with former Indians prospect Johnny Drennen (2002-05) for the all-time San Diego section record. Jackson's team played for California's San Diego section championship in all four of his high school seasons, including winning the championship during his freshman and junior seasons.
Paxton getting there
Left-handed starter James Paxton will throw 20-25 pitches during a Friday bullpen session. Paxton has a strained left lat muscle and has not pitched in a game since April 9.
“I’m feeling good. I haven’t had any problems,” Paxton said. “I’ve been playing catch and getting my distance out to about 140 (feet). I’ve been getting that long-toss going, and my arm is feeling great.
“It’s just a matter of getting that feeling back. That takes a little time, but that’s expected.”
The promotion of third baseman D.J. Peterson from Single-A High Desert to the Double-A Jackson Generals is imminent.
The right-handed Peterson, the Mariners’ 2013 first-round pick (12th overall), has a .993 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) with the Mavericks. Peterson has hit 17 home runs in 269 at-bats.
Peterson and RHP Dylan Unsworth of High Desert were picked as the California League player and pitcher of the week.
Bloomquist receives rare designation
Willie Bloomquist was the designated hitter and batted ninth Monday night against the Red Sox.
Bloomquist’s only other DH start was July 9, 2010, for Kansas City at Chicago. He batted seventh and went 1-for-4 against Mark Buehrle in an 8-2 loss. In that 2010 game, Bloomquist was subbing for Jose Guillen, who had a strained left quadriceps muscle.
The Mariners continue a six-game homestand at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday with the second of three games against Boston at Safeco Field.
Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (1-4, 4.62 ERA) will face Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy (1-5, 4.52). Root Sports will carry the game.