Torre has Pierre bat ninth vs. Giants
Dodgers manager puts speedster before Furcal instead of pitcher
SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre, taking a page from St. Louis manager Tony La Russa's playbook, batted outfielder Juan Pierre ninth in Wednesday night's lineup against the Giants.
Torre during Spring Training didn't rule out the possibility of utilizing Pierre's speed at the bottom of the batting order, rather than have him followed by the pitcher. Pierre will be followed by leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal. In Wednesday night's order, pitcher Eric Stults is batting eighth.
"I almost did it [April 12 in Arizona], but I changed my mind," said Torre. "It seems like a situation, with a player like Pierre, he'll be freer to steal and stuff and have Furcal behind him instead of the pitcher."
Torre said he couldn't remember ever batting his pitcher anywhere but ninth. He said La Russa's reasoning is to increase the chances of runners on base for Albert Pujols. Torre said his reasoning had more to do with utilizing Pierre's speed than providing RBI opportunities for his version of Pujols, Manny Ramirez.
Torre said he spoke with Pierre before he posted the lineup.
"The last thing I want to do is embarrass anybody," Torre said. "I explained my thinking and he was fine."
As Torre explained last week, he intends to implement a plan of getting Pierre into the lineup at least once or twice a week.
"I'll bat 11th if that's the way to get in the lineup," said Pierre. "I ain't never done it [bat behind the pitcher], but I'm happy to play today and that's it."
According to John Lambombarda of Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a Dodgers pitcher did not bat ninth was Aug. 15, 1965, when Don Drysdale batted seventh against Pittsburgh. That decision was made not to have a speedy position player bat ninth, but to move up Drysdale, because he was an unusually talented hitter for a pitcher.
That day, catcher John Roseboro hit eighth and shortstop John Kennedy was ninth in a 4-2 Dodgers loss, and Drysdale went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.