DeJesus leads Jackson, Cubs over Angels
MESA, Ariz. (AP) — David DeJesus is locked in and ready for the regular season.
The Chicago Cubs center fielder extended his hitting streak to 11 games in a 7-6 victory over a Los Angeles Angels split squad on Saturday.
DeJesus is 17 for 34 (.500) during his hitting string. He had two hits, including an RBI single in a four-run seventh inning that erased Chicago's three-run deficit.
"I'm seeing the ball as well as I ever have right now," DeJesus said. "I know the regular season is close and you'd like all these hits to count, but I'm not going to rush it. The more pitches I see, the better I feel. I'm going to keep building on this momentum and turn it into a successful start to the season."
The Cubs could use one from their leadoff hitter. DeJesus hit .263 with a .350 on-base percentage and 50 RBIs in 2012, his first season in Chicago.
DeJesus thinks he might have found the key to improved hitting, and it comes with improved focus.
"I'm paying close attention to the inner half of the ball, and I'm drawing my keys off of that," he said. "People have mentioned it to me before, but this spring it just clicked. I'm seeing the ball well and I'm finding open spots. That's all you can ask for."
Angels starter Joe Blanton allowed two runs in six-plus innings. He had five strikeouts and didn't walk a batter in another solid spring outing, although he clearly tired in the seventh.
Cubs starter Edwin Jackson had his worst pitching performance of the spring, allowing five runs and eight hits in five innings. However, he also went 2 for 2 with a pair of singles — his first hits of the spring — and an RBI. It wasn't enough to make up for his troubles on the mound.
Jackson started with two perfect innings, but gave up runs in his final three. Jackson hadn't given up five runs in four previous starts combined, two of which went five innings or beyond.
Los Angeles catcher Chris Ianetta, the only regular in the Angels' lineup, went 1 for 3 with a run scored.
NOTES: Chicago RHP Scott Baker was to be examined by a team doctor on Saturday night after deeming himself pain free following elbow problems this spring. Baker, attempting to return from elbow ligament replacement surgery, was shut down after one spring start. He's expected to begin the season on the disabled list and continue his rehab in Arizona once the season starts. ... OF Brett Jackson (shoulder) was able to throw and hit off a tee in morning workouts. ... Angels INF Brendan Harris was was hit in the head by Cubs P Carlos Marmol, but injury was prevented by his helmet's ear flap. He was removed from the game but was otherwise OK.