Juan Pierre joins 2,000-hit club
CHICAGO -- Juan Pierre called his shot Thursday, recording his 2,000th career hit just the way he predicted.
Chicago White Sox teammate Paul Konerko asked Pierre if it would be fitting for the speedy outfielder to record No. 2,000 on one of his patented bunts. Pierre had other ideas, saying a hard-hit ball to left field would work just fine.
"(Konerko) said, 'Do you want to bunt?' and I said, 'No, my ideal one would be in that six-hole over there,' and it happened," said Pierre, who recorded the milestone against the Cleveland Indians' David Huff. "I was just relieved. It was a good accomplishment but it hasn't really sunk in yet. Maybe later on I can reflect about doing those type of things from being around and getting that many hits."
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Pierre becomes the White Sox's second member to join the 2,000-hit club this season, reaching the milestone 15 days after Konerko did it Aug. 23 in Anaheim, Calif., against the Los Angeles Angels.
"Juan probably is the most consistent guy, and a lot of guys in this clubhouse would say, he's probably the most consistent guy I've ever been around as far as the way he comes in to prepare every day to play with his work and his preparation," Konerko said. "Regardless of what happened the day before or what he did tonight, it's always the same. I've been around not the longest time, but a decent amount of time in the big leagues. I don't think I've seen anybody get after it like he does to get ready to play a game."
After a slow start this season, Pierre has turned into one of the White Sox's steadiest performers. He entered Thursday's game batting .332 since June 26, the 10th-best average over that stretch in baseball. Pierre ranks first in the American League in infield hits (43) and bunt hits (19).
The light-hitting Pierre has 1,667 singles among his 2,000 hits and has also stolen 552 bases.
Konerko said his enjoyment of reaching the 2,000-hit mark might not necessarily match what Pierre will experience.
"It's nice; it's a round number," Konerko said. "It's something nice, it's great for your family and your friends to see. And you're proud of it. But at the same time, knowing him, he's not going to lift his head up and enjoy it until after the season, probably."
Indeed, Pierre was already downplaying the accomplishment before the game.
"Yeah, it's a big milestone but I never put too much emphasis on it," Pierre said. "Starting out a career, I was just grateful to be able to put on a major league uniform. So to have that mark means you've been around a little bit and you've got some hits along the way.
"Other than that, the bottom line is not too many people will remember it a year or two years from now. But definitely just the work you put in, it's pretty cool to get the accomplishment. Other than that, I don't hold too much stock in it."
Pierre went 2-for-4 and scored a run in the White Sox's 9-1 win.
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com.