Jackson, D-backs head to arbitration

Jackson, D-backs head to arbitration

PHOENIX -- The D-backs and left fielder Conor Jackson were unable to agree on a contract as both sides filed figures for salary arbitration on Tuesday.

The D-backs submitted a figure of $2.45 million while Jackson countered with $3.65 million. A three-man arbitration panel must pick one of the figures after a hearing next month. Arbitration cases are heard between Feb. 1-21.

This is the first time that Jackson, who made $419,500 last year, has been eligible for salary arbitration.

Jackson hit .300 with 31 doubles, 12 homers and 75 RBIs last season. He began the year as the team's starting first baseman, but when an injury landed Eric Byrnes on the disabled list, Jackson took over in left field.

The 26-year-old has long been more comfortable in the outfield and D-backs manager Bob Melvin said during the Winter Meetings last month that Jackson would enter Spring Training as the team's starting left fielder.

That could set up a tricky situation with Byrnes, who has two years and $22 million left on his contract, as the team's fourth outfielder.

Jackson could wind up seeing some time at first, however, if Melvin chooses to start him there in place of the left-handed-hitting Chad Tracy. That would allow the manager to get Byrnes some at-bats.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.