Monday, June 1, 2015

Drew Jackson…and the Two-Minute Drill

Editor's note: On June 9, 2015, Drew Jackson was selected in the fifth round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Seattle Mariners. Drew was the first Stanford player selected in the draft.  

Professional baseball may have another Jackson brother in its ranks in just a few short weeks. Baseball’s first year player draft runs June 8-10 and the Jackson family in Orinda, CA, will be watching closely to see if Drew gets the call.

Currently, Drew’s brother, Brett, plays center for the San Francisco Giants’ AAA Sacramento River Cats. He was hitting .277 through May 27 before being put on the seven-day disabled list.

Drew turning the double play against UCLA
on April 26. Photo courtesy of Bob Drebin/ 
Drew, a junior shortstop at Stanford, finished his season leading the team with a .320 batting average and was second in runs scored with 27. He also led the Cardinal during fall ball with a .358 average. He spent two summers playing for the Cotuit Kettleers in the prestigious Cape Cod League.

I sat down with Drew recently and he shared his story.

PJ: You broke the hamate bone in your hand earlier in the season. Tell me about it.

Drew: It’s a weird injury. It was nagging me before I broke it. I fouled off a curve ball and felt something wasn’t right. Next thing I knew I was picking up a bat and it was unbearable. I was playing again in 3 ½ weeks, so the recovery period wasn’t so bad. Right after surgery I had a soft cast on for one week to let the swelling go down. When they took it off, I didn’t even have a bandage on it. The doctor said…let pain be your guide. It was hurting when I played, but I gave it a whirl. The Saturday game against ASU was my first game back and it was hurting real bad when I was swinging. In fact, the first two weeks hitting I was in a lot of pain. The doctor told me I’d have a lot of pain for the rest of the season. Now I don’t notice the pain…it’s gone, which is awesome.

PJ: Pablo Sandoval (current Boston Red Sox and former SF Giant) broke these bones in each hand. I heard this is a common injury.

Drew: I hadn’t heard of it before I broke mine. Yes, Pablo broke his, but I didn’t think it would ever happen to me. After I had the injury I started hearing about others. Drew Storen, the closer for the Washington Nationals, broke his during batting practice. There was a player at Cal [Mike Reuvekamp] and a Stanford teammate, Matthew Decker, one week after mine.

PJ: What type of physical therapy did you go through?

Drew: I was doing leg workouts…everything I could do to keep my whole body in shape. After I got my cast off I did wrist strengthening exercises in the weight room. I swung the bat for the first time the Wednesday before the ASU series [March 27-29]. The more I swung, it made the healing better. I really didn’t have physical therapy.

PJ: You were named Pac-12 Player of the Week for your series against Utah in April. You went 7-for-14 with three doubles and five runs scored. This was only a few weeks after coming back from your injury.

Drew: Yeah, that was pretty cool. It felt good and it was nice being back on the field. Being injured I realized how important baseball is to me and how amazing it is to play at such a high level. I’m trying to take it all in. I’m not sure how much longer I will be playing baseball or be playing at Stanford.

PJ: So, you are thinking about the draft and playing pro baseball, right?
Drew bunting against Utah on April 19.
Photo courtesy of Bob Drebin/

Drew: I want to get drafted. I am ready to play pro ball if the opportunity is there. But, there is nothing bad about coming back and playing at Stanford. Ideally, I do want to get drafted and play at the pro level.

PJ: Why baseball?

Drew: My dad tried walking on at Cal and he play soccer. He is the biggest baseball fan. Ever since I remember I’ve had a wiffle bat and ball in my hand. It’s ingrained in me…I have a deep appreciation for the game. When you put a lot of hard work into something and you see the results of your efforts, you appreciate it more. I like other sports, too. But, there is something about baseball. I love the game.

PJ: Your older brother, Brett, plays for the Sacramento River Cats. How much of an influence has he been on you?

Drew: He’s my biggest role model and one of my best friends. It’s nice to have someone go through it before me to give me a heads up. I think I have more knowledge of what to expect than others who don’t have a brother in pro ball. I was growing up dreaming of being a professional baseball player and the fact that he’s made it is so cool. I remember the day he got called up [August 6, 2012, with the Chicago Cubs]. It’s cool to say my brother’s been there. He’s hitting well and I hope he gets called up by the Giants.

Brett is five years older than me, however the way he treats me you wouldn’t notice an age difference. My younger brother, Connor is 17 and will be going to Cal. We’ve all grown closer. They are my best friends. Growing up the five-year gap seems bigger. Brett was a good role model on how to treat Connor and be a good big brother. We just hung out and played wiffle ball in the backyard. I have to give a shout out to my sister [Lindsey], too. She is the best sister out there.

PJ: Have you seen your brother play for the River Cats?

Drew: I haven’t seen him since spring training. He came to see a couple of my games at ASU and we had dinner together. Our schedules are so tight. In fact, spending time with all six of us [the entire Jackson family] only happens a couple of times a year. I cherish those times…they are my favorite times of year.

Drew ready at short against Utah on April 19.
Photo courtesy of Bob Drebin/
PJ: Speaking of Cal, most of your family has gone (or in the case of Connor, is going) there. Are they tough on you for breaking the family tradition and playing for the enemy?

Drew: Nearly all of my extended family has gone to Cal…11 cousins and siblings. I do get heat for going to the dark side, as my family calls it. But, it makes it fun…we tailgate for the Big Game. We really get into it. My loyalties lie with the school I chose, but I still root for Cal when not playing them in football.

My sister gives me the most heat about going to Stanford. She has the most Cal pride of any Jackson. She won’t wear red to my games, but she says I’m the only Stanford player she will root for. My parents are decked out in red for every game [even though Mom went to UCLA and Dad to Cal]. They are my biggest supporters.

PJ: What is your best baseball memory?

Drew: Last year in the regionals [for Stanford]. I had pinch hit and was on second base. Tommy Edman was up and I was just hoping he’d get a slap single so I could get home. He hit a walk off home run…he had never hit a home run left handed before. My other one came last summer. I played in the Cape Cod league for the Cotuit Kettleers. In one game I hit the game tying run and then I hit the game winning run to send the team to the championship. That was pretty sweet.