McCatty’s goal is straightforward: He doesn’t want Jackson to worry about tipping pitches or mechanical adjustments or other “garbage” on the mound. He wants Jackson to be smooth and athletic. That begins, McCatty believes, with the mental approach. And athletic isn’t hyperbole, since Jackson started his minor league career as a center fielder.
“I want him to feel like everything’s working together,” McCatty said.
Originally scheduled to throw 40 to 45 pitches against the Astros, Jackson finished his afternoon with 15 pitches in the bullpen. He worked on timing. His breaking balls improved. He spotted the ball well. The next step is transferring the improvement to a game.
“It’s just the first start,” Jackson said, smiling. “They’re not trying to kill us right now.”
NOTES: Outfielder Bryce Harper went 1-for-3. That included a big swing-and-miss against a Wiffleball-like curve from Astros starter Livan Hernandez on the first pitch Harper saw in the second. … Outfielder Jayson Werth didn’t travel Saturday, but will start in center field Sunday against the Astros in Viera. … Left-hander Ross Detwiler made a mistake with a 1-0 changeup down the middle that turned into a two-run home run to center field. But he struck out three batters over two innings, as he worked on his curve and fought location he felt was “a little off.”
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