DETROIT — Austin Jackson is off to a fast start in his first year in the majors.
If the New York Yankees didn't trade him to the Detroit Tigers, he might still be in the minors.
"This is a good opportunity for me and I'm just looking to take full advantage of it," Jackson said.
Jackson didn't get a chance to show his former employer what he could do Tuesday night because the second game of the series was postponed by rain. The game will be made up Wednesday as part of a day-night doubleheader.
New York is hoping struggling starter Javier Vazquez, who was scheduled to pitch Tuesday night, can prevent help it avoid its first three-game skid of the season when he faces Rick Porcello and the Tigers in the day game.
Vazquez has struggled so far in his second stint with the Yankees, going 1-3 with a 9.78 ERA in his first five starts. After he allowed three homers and walked four in three-plus innings against the Chicago White Sox on May 1, the Yankees decided to push back his next start to give him more time to work through his problems.
"We've watched him carefully and we've liked what we've seen on the side," manager Joe Girardi said after Tuesday night's game was postponed.
New York acquired Vazquez from the Atlanta Braves in a five-player deal in December, a couple weeks after it traded Jackson and reliever Phil Coke in a three-team deal that sent All-Star outfielder Curtis Granderson from Detroit to the Bronx.
Fans in the Motor City didn't like the deal when it was announced because Granderson was productive and popular, but they all seem to love it now.
Jackson leads the majors with 43 hits and his .360 average was trailing only teammate Miguel Cabrera in the AL entering play Tuesday.
Pretty impressive for a player whose first at-bat in the majors leagues was in last month's opener.
Jackson, though, isn't stunned by his success.
"I feel like I've worked hard these past years," he said. "And, I got a chance to work with some great hitting coaches who have helped me be at where I am today."
New York selected Jackson in the eighth round of the 2005 draft out of Ryan High School in Denton, Texas, and developed him in the minor leagues, putting him at Triple-A Trenton last year.
"I saw him in spring training 2008 and spring training 2009 and there was a huge improvement," Girardi said. "So, we've known he was going to be a player.
"It isn't fair to judge a player on a month in the big leagues, but he's doing a great job for them."
Tigers outfielder Johnny Damon, who got to know Jackson when he was a Yankees prospect, insisted he's not shocked by how well he has played.
"He's got a great head on his shoulders," Damon said. "They never really talked about his defense in that system, we just heard he was a great athlete and whatnot. He's one of the better center fielders in this league and he's got a chance to win a couple Gold Gloves. He's that good out there."
Granderson, meanwhile, is a banged-up Yankee. He hit .225 with two homers and seven RBIs in 23 games for his new team before going on the disabled list earlier this month with a strained left groin.
Derek Jeter, though, is confident the Yankees added a good player in the deal that doesn't look too good so far for them.
"I played with Curtis in the WBC and he's proven throughout the years that he's a good player," Jeter said.
The Yankees plan to put reliever Alfredo Aceves on the DL with a back injury. "As soon as I started throwing the ball hard, I felt the pinch again," Aceves said. "I'm going to have to shut it down and see what we do next." … New York RHP Phil Hughes and Detroit RHP Jeremy Bonderman are scheduled to make their previously scheduled starts on Wednesday night in the second game of the doubleheader. … Detroit hopes LHP Dontrelle Willis, who missed Monday's start with an 102-degree fever, is healthy enough to pitch in relief Wednesday to help its taxed bullpen. "This is getting close to a panic situation because we've had to really work our bullpen and we don't have much left," manager Jim Leyland said. … Yankees RHP Chan Ho Park, on the DL for almost a month with a strained right hamstring, is expected to throw Wednesday in Tampa, Fla.
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