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04/01/08 8:35 PM ET
Pierre back in Dodgers' starting lineup
Outfielder bumps Kemp to bench thanks to better matchup
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- One day after his streak of consecutive games played was snapped at 434, Juan Pierre was back in the Dodgers' starting lineup Tuesday night. Pierre was in left field and batting seventh, with Andre Ethier moving to right field and Matt Kemp going to the bench as Joe Torre continued to manage egos as well as manipulate his lineup. Torre said this spring that he wasn't a huge proponent of matchups, but that's what he cited as one of the reasons he returned Pierre to face Giants right-handed starter Matt Cain after sitting Pierre against lefty Barry Zito. Pierre was 3-for-13 lifetime against Zito and 3-for-11 against Cain. Ethier was 0-for-3 against Zito (now 0-for-6) and 6-for-11 against Cain. Kemp was 6-for-12 against Zito (now 7-for-15) and 0-for-3 against Cain. "I don't want anybody to sit for a while," Torre said. "Obviously, we want to have everybody contribute. We'll find matchups and see if they work. We have too much ability not to try something here. Just the first few days, I don't want anybody stale, especially somebody who's used to playing. I'm not saying I know this is going to work, but it's worth a shot." Torre was presented with a situation of having too many outfielders since the Winter Meetings signing of Andruw Jones, which dislodged Pierre from center field. The manager put off a decision until over the weekend, when he announced that Ethier had won the left-field job, a blow to Pierre, who has been an everyday player since his Major League arrival eight years ago and signed a five-year contract with the belief he would be the Dodgers' starting center fielder. Still experimenting with a batting order as well as the lineup, Torre on Tuesday night moved Russell Martin from the sixth slot to second, dropped Ethier from second to third (Kemp's spot on Monday) and moved James Loney up from seventh to sixth. "To me right now, I want the ability to mess around with the two-hole," Torre said. "It gives me more flexibility. With Juan seventh or eighth [rookie Blake DeWitt was eighth again], he'll take a walk and can still do things down there. I don't want you to think I've got this thing chiseled."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.