Jackson, 33, was signed to a minor league contract April 5 and has been pitching for Triple-A Norfolk since early May. He has a 3.10 ERA over 12 appearances spanning 20 1/3 innings, pitching mainly in relief.
Jackson initially had an opt-out in his minor league contract that he could exercise Thursday, but he agreed to extend his stay at Norfolk. Starting Monday at 11:59 p.m., he had 24 hours to exercise his opt-out and then the Orioles had 48 hours after that to either add him to their 25-man major league roster or release him from his contract, allowing him to become a free agent.
The club is expected to add Jackson to its 25-man roster before Wednesday's game. The Orioles must make a corresponding 25-man move to make space for Jackson. There was one available spot on the organizational 40-man roster for Jackson, created Sunday when left-handed reliever Paul Fry cleared waivers and was outrighted to Norfolk.
Jackson was with the Tides for their game in Gwinnett, Ga., on Tuesday night and was told he was being added to the major league roster later that night. He is scheduled to fly to Baltimore on Wednesday morning and be available for Wednesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
His deal with the Orioles will include a base salary of $850,000 for making the major league roster with the potential to earn an additional $1.6 million in performance bonuses.
Eleven of Jackson’s 12 appearances at Norfolk were in relief and he had a 3.12 ERA in 17 1/3 relief innings. His past three outings have been scoreless, and he has been used in a variety of relief roles over that span – pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings last Monday, tossing three scoreless frames two days later and posting a three-up, three-down ninth-inning save in his most recent appearance Saturday.
Though his time in the Orioles organization has been brief, Jackson won many supporters in both Norfolk and Baltimore, especially because of his experience, and his ability to eat innings and pitch regularly out of the bullpen.
With the Orioles, Jackson will likely help fill a long-relief role, at least initially. Though he's pitched mainly in relief over the past three seasons, Jackson made 13 starts for the San Diego Padres last season.
The Orioles will be Jackson’s 12th major league team, and he will have pitched in the majors in each of the past 15 seasons. Owning a career 93-114 record and 4.65 ERA at the major league level, Jackson spent most of his career as a starting pitcher – he threw a no-hitter for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010 – but has worked mostly out of the bullpen for the past three seasons.
His most recent major league experience came last season in San Diego, where he went 5-6 with a 5.89 ERA in 13 starts for the Padres.
In his first year of full-time relief work in 2015, Jackson had a 3.07 ERA in 55 2/3 innings with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves. While pitching with the Braves – with whom he had a 2.92 ERA over 24 2/3 innings – Jackson worked under current Orioles pitching coach Roger McDowell.