CHICAGO -- Tired of his supporting role, Juan Pierre has burst into the leading-man category.
And while the adoration is so much better, all the attention in the world still isn’t likely to change his determined approach.
For the past two games, Pierre has moved out of the table-setter role and has been taking matters into his own hands. There were three RBIs on Thursday at Colorado, including two in the 10th inning for the go-ahead runs.
On Friday, it was his two-run triple in the seventh inning that put the White Sox in the lead for good in their 6-4 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
“He’s in the lineup because I have faith in him,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I think he can do this. He’s a veteran player. Maybe he’ll be 0-for-100 in the next 20 games. I don’t care. He’s playing. I’m happy he comes through.
“I’m happy he’s doing what he’s doing because he can do it. He will continue to do it because when you work hard and work every day and take pride in what you do, good things happen to you, and that’s what Juan Pierre does.”
If it sounded like Guillen spiked the ball in the end zone while doing a dance it was because he did and he was.
Guillen has stood by Pierre despite the cries that the leadoff man with the diminishing skills should be replaced by somebody … anybody.
“I appreciate Ozzie saying he had my back or what not,” Pierre said. “I’ve been benched before, I’ve been booed, I’ve been batted ninth. I dropped balls. I’ve done all this stuff in my career. This stuff doesn’t shake me when I get the boos or the media talks bad about me.”
If Pierre’s answers sound familiar it’s because he had the same identical discussion with reporters after he was the hero Thursday. And that’s the thing with Pierre. You get what you get, day after day, season after season.
“I’m happy for him, because earlier a couple of weeks ago there was a whole bunch of, ‘We should get rid of him’ and this or that,” A.J. Pierzynski said. “As far as that goes, he’s as good as they come as far as a steadying force. Him and Konerko are probably the two best guys I’ve been around as far as calm, work their tails off and be ready to play every day.”
Whether he goes 0-for-20 or 20-for-20, Pierre won’t change a thing. He’s been doing this for so long that he has learned to trust his approach through it all.
“In my career, if I don’t play well, I don’t play,” Pierre said. “That’s the course over my years of playing. I continue to get my work in. I’m doing the same thing preparing. It’s been going good lately, but I know how it goes, if I go 0-for-8, everyone will say I’m bad again. I take it for what it’s worth and work hard and play the game the right way.”