OF Juan Pierre to sign with Phillies
The outfielder agreed to a minor league contract with the Phillies on Friday, getting an invitation to spring training with a club he's been a nemesis to for years.
The 34-year-old hit .279 with two homers, 50 RBIs and 27 steals for the Chicago White Sox last season, starting 152 games in left field. The left-handed batter hit .329 against lefties.
Pierre is the latest veteran to join Philadelphia, which has won five straight NL East titles. The Phillies have overhauled their bench, adding Jim Thome, Ty Wigginton and Laynce Nix. Scott Podsednik, a former All-Star, also will be in camp as a non-roster player.
John Mayberry Jr. is expected to get a majority of the playing time in left field, but Pierre could compete with Nix and Podsednik for a platoon role against right-handed pitchers. Nix and Podsednik also bat left-handed.
Pierre leads active players with 554 steals. He has a .296 career batting average with 234 doubles, 86 triples, 16 homers and 484 RBIs in 12 seasons for Colorado, Florida, the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and White Sox.
Pierre has always been tough against the Phillies. He has a .310 average and .361 on-base percentage with 21 extra-base hits, 62 runs and 40 steals in 98 games against Philadelphia.
In 2003, when Pierre played for the Marlins, the Phillies had a particularly difficult time keeping Pierre off base. He hit .397 with a .471 on-base percentage, scored 16 runs and stole 12 bases in 19 games against Philadelphia. The Phillies went 6-13 against the Marlins and finished five games behind them in the wild-card standings. Florida went on to beat the New York Yankees in the World Series.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press