Pierre not happy about latest move

Times Staff Writer

Juan Pierre reiterated Sunday that this has been the toughest season of his career.

“Without a doubt,” he said.

The Dodgers’ trade for Manny Ramirez last week forced Pierre to change positions. Again.

And the fleet-footed leadoff hitter is facing the threat of being sent to the bench. Again.


“All I’ve ever done was be Juan Pierre,” he said. “I don’t know why, for some reason, they’re just sticking it to me this year. I applaud the move. Any time you get a chance to get Manny Ramirez, you get him. But from a personal standpoint, it’s putting me in a tough position.”

Pierre was moved from center field to left to make room for Andruw Jones. But with Ramirez’s place in left set in stone and Jones mired in a season-long slump, Pierre is back in center, a position Dodgers management wasn’t comfortable with him playing because of his weak throwing arm.

Pierre, who is hitting .303 with six runs in nine games since returning from the disabled list on July 25, has started the last two games in center and Manager Joe Torre has said he would receive “the bulk of the time” at that position.

“It’s kind of like riding a bike, as far as center field goes,” Pierre said.

What was unusual, he said, was moving from center to left in the ninth inning of Sunday’s 9-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, as Jones entered the game as a defensive substitute.

Pierre, who started the season as the team’s fourth outfielder and had a consecutive-games streak of 443, longest in the majors, broken on opening day, said he took no comfort in Torre’s statement about how much he is expected to play.

“To be honest, if we’re winning and Andruw starts hitting, I’ll probably be back on the bench,” he said. “That’s that power they went out and got in the off-season.”


Ozuna’s ‘slide’

Pablo Ozuna drove in his first run as a Dodger when he tripled in Ramirez in the eighth inning.

Ozuna dived head-first into third base, but did so unconventionally, leaping into the air 10 feet away from the bag and belly-flopping onto it.

“I thought he was going to puncture his lung,” Torre said.

Ozuna explained that the method of diving is nothing new to him.

“I always dive like that,” he said. “I used to practice that on the beaches in the Dominican. If I dive low to the ground, I lose velocity. By throwing myself forward, I can keep my momentum.”


Proctor progressing

Scott Proctor threw 24 pitches in a rehabilitation appearance Saturday for Class-A Inland Empire and reported being sore the next day. “It’s a good soreness, though,” said Proctor, who went on the disabled list June 25 because of right elbow tendinitis.

Proctor gave up three hits and three runs in two-thirds of an inning, but was pleased with his performance. He said his fastball was in the 94-to-96-mph range.

The next step in Proctor’s recovery will be for him to pitch on back-to-back days. He said he plans to do that Tuesday and Wednesday.


Short hops

Brad Penny, who is expected to be activated from the disabled list Friday, should be able to deliver around 90 pitches in his start in San Francisco, Torre said. . . . Jonathan Broxton, who was unavailable Saturday because of a fatigued arm, was available to pitch Sunday and warmed up during the eighth inning. . . . Because Ramirez hit a home run in the fifth inning, children under 15 can get into Universal Studios at no charge with a ticket stub from Sunday’s game and the purchase of an adult ticket.