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Jackson thrilled to be joining a pennant race

The Sports Xchange

It was about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, and the Oakland Athletics were still playing when Conor Jackson found out he had been traded to the Red Sox.

His reaction?

"It's exciting," Jackson said. "I'm coming from a team that was 15 games out to a team that's in the middle of a pennant race and playing in the AL East and probably one of the friendliest fan parks in the game."

The Red Sox were interested in Jackson because they wanted to add another right-handed hitter to their bench. They also liked his defensive versatility. Jackson has played four positions (first base, left field, right field, third base) for the A's this year.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he has not yet decided how to divide at-bats between Jackson and righty-hitting outfielder Darnell McDonald. It's possible they may be competing this month for a spot on the postseason roster.

"Some of it's probably going to be determined by how they swing the bat," Francona said Thursday before the Red Sox lost 4-2 to the Yankees. "There's no getting around it."

Jackson, 29, batted .249 with 17 doubles, four homers and 38 RBI in 102 games for the A's. Over the past two seasons, he has been hampered by health problems. He missed almost all of the 2009 season with a rare fungal disease known as "valley fever," and last season, he was hobbled by a sports hernia that ultimately required surgery.

"I think it's been a down year for me statistically," said Jackson, who batted .300 for the Diamondbacks in 2008 before the health woes. "I've risen my stock a little bit by playing multiple positions, playing left, playing right, playing third a little bit, playing first. Hopefully (I'll) get some ABs and impress some people."

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