Juan Pierre can still hear the taunts in his head. The outfielder who tormented the Phillies with his speed and small ball skills during the last decade got an earful from the Phillies’ faithful every time he played center or left field for the Marlins or Dodgers.
“You could hear them,” Pierre said. “Phillies fans would call you every name in the book. They would call me Juanita. It wasn’t so bad when I was in center but when I played left at Citizens Bank Park, they’re so close to you.”
Pierre hopes to hear the fans this season while wearing red pinstripes. Pierre is vying for the fifth outfielder spot.
“I would love to play for this team,” Pierre said. “They play the game the right way. You look at how Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley and Shane Victorino play. It’s the way everyone should play. It’s no wonder this team has been so successful over the years.”
Pierre, who stole 68 bases for the White Sox in 2010, is very comfortable in the clubhouse. Throughout the early days of spring, he’s usually chatting with Rollins, his locker neighbor, and longtime friend Dontrelle Willis.
“Dontrelle and I are as good a friends as there can be,” Pierre said. “Jimmy and I broke into the big leagues at the same time and we were the same kind of players until he started popping home runs.”
Perhaps the patient Pierre could help the Phillies by getting on and stealing bases. He’s 3-for-8 (.375 average) this spring in four games, with one stolen bag.
“That’s my game,” Pierre said. “I think I have something to offer this team, but the Phillies won 102 games last season. Whatever ball they played last year, long ball, small ball, worked. This is a team that’s going to have a great season whether I make this team or not.
“I think you have to be foolish to underestimate this team when you look at the talent and what this team has done over recent years. I’ve respected this team from the other dugout for many years and now I’m in their clubhouse. It’s great.”
Phillies 5 Pirates 4
The Phillies needed 10 innings Thrusday to beat Pittsburgh. Lou Montanez led off the bottom of the 10th with a home run.
Cole Hamels got the start and tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings. He looked sharp and allowed just four hits while striking out two Pirates.
Shane Victorino was the star for the Phils’ regulars, after blasting a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth. Hunter Pence went 2-for-3 with a run scored.