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03/05/09 8:58 PM EST

Pierre pursuing trade options

Dodgers give veteran outfielder permssion to find a deal

PHOENIX -- The Dodgers have given Juan Pierre's agent permission to explore potential trade partners for the outfielder who again lost his starting job with the re-signing of left fielder Manny Ramirez.

"I understand the situation, and if they hadn't signed Manny, it would have been a surprise," said Pierre. "I'm not bitter about it. I totally get it, you know what I mean? But I want to play. So they gave us permission to talk to teams and try to find a situation that can work out for everybody, and that's all I can ask for."

Pierre is entering the third year of a five-year, $44 million contract with $28.5 million in salary remaining. Pierre said he would defer payment if that would help facilitate a trade.

"I realize the economic situation," Pierre said of his contract. "I'll defer if it makes it more attractive. I told [manager Joe] Torre today that I totally understand what's going on, and he said he would try to get me in there whenever he can. I have no beef with that. I told Joe I will be the team guy I've always been.

"Look, Manny is Manny, and they've got two kids in Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, and they can play. They had a chance to get Manny for free last year and they had to do it. Now, nobody is bidding for him, they had to bring him back. They kept me because they didn't want to be left with two outfielders. I'm not saying I'm OK with it, but I understand. It's just an unfortunate situation for me."

Torre said he told Pierre he would be the fourth outfielder, but that he would try to provide enough playing time to "keep him sharp." Torre said he also explained his workload strategy to Kemp and Ethier.

"I told Juan, 'I know that's not good enough for what you want to happen.' He was appreciative," said Torre. "It's no secret he wants to play every day, but he seems understanding of it. When you add Manny to a club, you understand he'll play every day."

Pierre hit .283 and stole 40 bases last year playing in 119 games. He began the season on the bench, won playing time when Andruw Jones struggled, but ultimately wound up back on the bench after Ramirez's acquisition at the end of July.

"Stuff happens and this happened," Pierre said. "It affects me, but I can only control what I can control."

Because of Pierre's ability to play center field and his speed on the bases, Pierre would be a very useful fourth outfielder if he was accepting of the role. If the Dodgers were able to deal him, it would heighten the importance of Jason Repko, who can also play center field.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.