Unhappy Pierre to learn fate today

Times Staff Writer

Juan Pierre will meet with Manager Joe Torre before the Dodgers’ exhibition finale against the Boston Red Sox today to learn what he’ll be doing on opening day: starting in left field in front of Andre Ethier or sitting on the bench.

“If they want to go a different route,” Pierre said, “I can live with it and I have to understand it but it’s something I don’t get.”

Pierre signed a five-year, $44-million contract a year ago to be the Dodgers’ starting center fielder, but was moved to left field before the start of spring training this year to make room for newly signed Andruw Jones. Today, Pierre could be moved again, this time to the bench.


“It’s a tough situation that they put not only all of us in,” Pierre said, referring to the three outfielders, including Matt Kemp, who are competing for the two corner spots. “But me too, because you sign here for one thing, a five-year deal, and you put up the same numbers you put up every year, and it seems like it doesn’t hold any weight or anything.”

Last season, Pierre had a .293 average, 196 hits and 64 steals. He has had a rough spring, entering Saturday’s exhibition game at the Coliseum batting .173. Ethier had six home runs and a .361 average.

“It’s spring training,” Pierre said. “I bat .200, but then I get 200 hits and do my thing. I work what I need to work on. I bunt a lot. . . . [But] if they go out and put a lot of weight on spring training, then it’s justified for them to do whatever they want to do with me.”


Torre said Nomar Garciaparra will begin the season on the disabled list and 22-year old Blake DeWitt will start at third base if the Dodgers can’t trade for a replacement.

General Manager Ned Colletti has been speaking to other clubs about possible trades, targeting players with short and inexpensive contracts for what they expect to be short-term replacement duty. They are believed to be interested in Philadelphia’s Wes Helms. Tampa Bay’s Eric Hinske is also reportedly on the market.