- Associated Press - Saturday, February 15, 2014

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Edwin Jackson’s first season with the Chicago Cubs was a dud.

Now, they just hope Jackson can live up to his career norms - if not every dollar of his $52 million, four-year contract.

The 30-year-old right-hander went 8-18 last year, the most losses in the majors, with a 4.98 ERA while carrying a modest load of 175 innings.

His career averages are 11-13 and a 4.47 ERA. Jackson’s best season was 2009, when he went 13-9 for the Detroit Tigers with a 3.62 ERA in 214 innings.

With the Cubs, Jackson maintains the pressure of the big contract didn’t get to him.

“It was just a crazy year,” he said. “I don’t think I was about to pull my hair out, or stressing or pressing over games. It was just a crazy year where things didn’t go the way I’d like. It just so happened to be the first year of a contract.

“I’m sure people expected more. But I expect more.”

Jackson doesn’t blame the results on Wrigley Field, either.

“The park plays bigger than you expect more times than not,” he said. “You can catch an unfortunate day when the wind is blowing out. But for the most part, it plays big.”

So what was the problem?

“I think I just had an inconsistent delivery,” he said.

Jackson knows his way around the baseball block. He debuted in 2003 with the Los Angeles Dodgers at age 19; the Cubs are his eighth team.

“Every year you want to improve on every aspect of the game,” Jackson said. “But for me, more important is consistent mechanics.”

So, as he starts spring training in 2014, he said: “I’m working on consistency. Staying consistent with all the pitches. Stay in the same arm slot, stay at the same speed, so everything looks the same.”

Jackson threw off a mound for the first time Saturday. Pitching coach Chris Bosio, who was among the most interested spectators, said, “Edwin pitched extremely well in some games, in others not so good.

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