Dodgers' Pierre returns to ninth spot
Torre tries to capitalize on outfielder's basestealing ability
LOS ANGELES -- For the second time in three games, manager Joe Torre had outfielder Juan Pierre batting ninth for the Dodgers as they took on the Padres on Friday night.
Pierre started in center field, with Matt Kemp sliding over to right field and Andre Ethier out of the starting lineup against Padres ace Jake Peavy. Ethier is 5-for-32 with 10 strikeouts lifetime against Peavy, while Pierre is 9-for-37 and Kemp 1-for-4 with a home run.
Torre said a week ago he would try to get Pierre more starts. He said he wants to bat him ninth, because batting him eighth ahead of the pitcher doesn't capitalize on his basestealing ability. Wednesday night in San Francisco, Pierre started in center field for Kemp and batted ninth, with starting pitcher Eric Stults batting eighth. Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw was batting eighth Friday night.
"I talked to the three of them [Pierre, Kemp and Ethier] this Spring Training about this," Torre said. "If he'll [Pierre] be of use to us off the bench, we have to keep him involved. Ethier needed a day. It's the first time this year moving Matt over [to right]."
Kemp, who had a spectacular game in center field Thursday night that included two catches that saved four runs, said he'll adjust.
"I'll just take some balls off the bat in right field during batting practice," he said. "Center field is easy. Right field is easy. Just don't put me in left. That's the toughest position for me to play because the ball comes off the bat different."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.