WASHINGTON - Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson spent only a season with the Washington Nationals, but he spent a long time before the game catching up with old teammates on the field Friday during his first day back at Nationals Park since signing with the Cubs as a free agent.
"It's good to be in my old stomping grounds," Jackson told a group of mostly Washington media Friday, the day before he faces his former team, opposite 24-year-old All-Star Stephen Strasburg.
A little more adrenaline than usual?
"No," Jackson said with a smile. "Everybody was a Stephen Strasburg coming up at some point. ... That's a joke.
"It doesn't really matter who's pitching. If it was Gio [Gonzalez] there'd probably be a little more trash talking. ... I told [Strasburg] I'll be ready for that 98 [mph].
"It'll be fun."
If it's still fun at the end of the game it'll be a season first for Jackson, the $52 million free agent still looking for his first win as a Cub after seven mostly rough starts. He's 0-6 with a 6.39 ERA.
"It's been kind of a slow start. Not exactly how I had it envisioned," said Jackson, who has said repeatedly he doesn't believe he's pressing to perform under the first multi-year contract of his career. "But it's a long season, and I feel good. And I've always continued to work hard."
Jackson, 29, went 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA for the Nationals last year.