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DODGERS REPORT

Pierre says he hasn't accepted role

May 02, 2008|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

MIAMI -- For one day, Juan Pierre was able to relive the past.

Playing in the Florida ballpark he called home during the best seasons of his career, Pierre scored a run and drove in two more in the Dodgers' 5-3 victory over the Florida Marlins on Thursday.

On a day that started with his misplaying a fly ball that led to the Marlins' first run, Pierre was two for three, took a pitch on the elbow, and moved Rafael Furcal into scoring position in the ninth inning with a sacrifice bunt. Furcal later scored the go-ahead run on a single by Matt Kemp.

But after his triumphant return to the Dodgers' lineup -- the start was his first in five days -- Pierre refused to say if he still wanted to be a Dodger.

"I'm not going to answer that one," Pierre said. "It is what it is. I'm not going to touch that one."

He also wouldn't say whether he or his agent, Mark Pieper, asked management for a trade when he was relegated to being the fourth outfielder only a year after signing a five-year, $44-million contract.

But he did say that this is "by far" the toughest period of his career. He also said that he hasn't accepted his role, even though Manager Joe Torre has repeatedly praised him for his professionalism.

"I don't see myself as a bench player," he said. "I haven't accepted that. I know if they don't want me to play out there, that's their decision. But I don't see myself as a bench player."

Pierre entered the season with the longest consecutive games streak in the majors at 434. The run ended on opening day.

"If you know me and know my history, you know I'm a guy who plays every day," he said. "More than the hits and the stolen bases, I take pride in being out there every day.

"Night game, day game, no matter what, lefty, righty, I've always been a guy who plays every day. Of course, it's a big adjustment. I'm not happy with it, but if I pout, it's not going to do anything."

Pierre said he spends extra time in the batting cages on days he knows he isn't playing.

"It's one of those things I have to deal with," he said. "Hopefully, something works itself out."

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Hiroki Kuroda gave up three runs over seven innings, but remained winless since his major league debut. Kuroda, who displayed the same control he had in his first start in San Diego on April 4 and limited his pitch count to 85, admitted that not picking up a win over his last five starts is starting to wear on him.

"I feel it's my job to put my team in a position to win, which I did today," he said. "But if I don't get a win, people around me start to say things, so it does bother me."

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Jonathan Broxton will throw a side session today in Denver, after which he could be made available to pitch. Torre said that if Broxton isn't available to pitch today, he should be on Saturday. Broxton missed the last three games because of a strained side muscle. Torre said that Broxton "didn't feel a thing" when playing catch Thursday. . . . Jason Schmidt will also throw in the bullpen in what could be his final step before being sent on a minor league rehabilitation assignment. A decision on whether to send Schmidt to the minors will be made by Saturday, Torre said.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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