SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. — About to leave Arizona for Los Angeles, Juan Pierre said he was at peace.
He said he was at peace that he will be on the bench when the Dodgers open their season in San Diego on Monday and that there was nothing he could do this spring to change that.
Told at the start of camp he would be the fourth outfielder the moment Manny Ramirez re-signed with the club, Pierre said he has done everything he could do, batting .270 and leading the Cactus League with 10 steals.
"I realize I can't control anything but the way I go out and perform so that's what I concentrated on," he said.
Pierre talked about his situation without sounding resentful, which wasn't the case a spring ago when he was made a bench player for the first time in his career. He explained that that's because he believes that the people who are calling the shots aren't really making any decisions.
"It's all in God's hands," Pierre said. "He has me here for a reason. That's how I've come to grips with not being in there every day."
That doesn't mean Pierre, who is in the third year of a five-year, $44-million contract, has abandoned hope of being granted the trade he requested last year.
"I just have to be patient," he said. "I feel something will happen. I have faith that something will happen. Hopefully, sooner than later, but I'm prepared either way. I know the situation, pretty much, if I stay here. I just have to make the most of it."
Pierre said he is pulling for the Dodgers' starting outfielders to play well and promised he would be ready to play whenever he's called upon by Manager Joe Torre.
"I feel when it's my time and I'm supposed to be back out there, I will be, whether it's here, there or anywhere," he said.
Kuroda's last tuneup
Opening-day starter Hiroki Kuroda made his last outing of the exhibition season, giving up a run and four hits over the first three innings of the Dodgers' 10-8 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
Kuroda said the right shoulder that bothered him last season didn't trouble him this spring.
"But it's a long year and you never know what's going to happen," he said. "In that sense, the uncertainty will stay with me."
He said he has become increasingly used to being on the timetable of a major league pitcher. Preparing for the season is far different in Japan, where pitchers throw more pitches but are also given more rest between starts.
"In Japan, you head into the season with the idea of pitching a complete game on opening day," he said.
Kuroda will be on a pitch count of around 100 on Monday, Torre said.
Reserved catcher Danny Ardoin cleared waivers and was sent outright to triple-A Albuquerque, opening a spot on the Dodgers' 40-man roster. Ardoin could refuse the assignment, which would probably result in him backing up prized prospect A.J. Ellis. However, opting for free agency would cost Ardoin his sizable minor league salary of $210,750. . . . Left-hander Eric Milton, once considered to be the Dodgers' fifth starter, had a nightmare of a relief appearance, giving up eight runs in 2 1/3 innings to inflate his spring earned-run average to 10.07. The former All-Star didn't travel to Los Angeles with the Dodgers and will remain in extended spring training at Camelback Ranch. He has agreed to report to Albuquerque at the start of the minor league season.