Orioles' Jackson unexpectedly retires

The SportsXchange

Conor Jackson was passed over for the final spot on the Orioles roster at the end of spring training.

But the veteran slugger admitted the reason he joined the club was the same reason he remained positive -- that a chance likely would arise later in spring for the former Diamondbacks prospect.

The opportunity presented itself twice for the Orioles to call on Jackson, but they chose defense over Jackson's hot bat. Surely, though, Jackson was due for a recall at some point in April, May or June at the latest.

But that opportunity apparently won't come, as Jackson abruptly retired Sunday, according to Class AAA Norfolk.

Norfolk manager Ron Johnson told MASNsports.com that Jackson's "heart wasn't in it" and that the right-handed batter had been contemplating the decision for some time.

Jackson, 30, is a career .271 hitter in 658 major league games. His best seasons came between 2006 and 2008, when he averaged 14 homers and 71 RBIs with a .292 batting average.

He bounced around after injuries and health issues derailed his climb in Arizona, and hadn't appeared in a major league game since 2011 -- when he split the season between Oakland and Boston.

He signed a minor league deal with the Orioles in the winter, giving the club some insurance and a potential platoon option at first base and designated hitter.

As camp broke, the Orioles opted to go with first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce, leaving Jackson to head to Norfolk and wait.

His retirement thins the organization's depth at first base and designated hitter, but with the way Chris Davis has been swinging the bat in Baltimore, help at first base wasn't exactly a pressing issue.
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