Juan Pierre wins spot on Phillies' roster


CLEARWATER, Fla.The Phillies Opening Day roster continued to come into focus Thursday afternoon when the club announced that it had added veteran outfielder Juan Pierre to its major league roster. The transaction paves the way for Pierre to be on the Opening Day roster next Thursday in Pittsburgh.Pierre, who signed a minor-league contract in January, had been competing for a reserve outfielders job with Scott Podsednik, another veteran on a minor-league contract. Podsednik remains in camp and team officials said he still has a chance to make the team, but the player didnt sound optimistic about his chances.Its not looking too good, said Podsednik, who met with team officials late Thursday afternoon.He would not say what he discussed with team officials.Podsednik, 36, has had a solid camp -- and healthy -- camp. After being limited to just 34 minor-league games last season because of a pair of foot injuries, he is hitting .347 (17 for 49) this spring.My body feels good, he said.The Phils would have to open with 11 pitchers instead of 12 for Podsednik to make the roster. Though theres a strong possibility that the team could go with 11 pitchers early in the season, its likely the final roster spot would go to an infielder such as Pete Orr or Hector Luna. Luna continued to swing a hot bat, driving in the winning run in the Phils 2-1 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday. He is hitting .302 (13 for 43).Podsednik could play at Triple A, where he would provide the organization with veteran outfield depth, but he was unsure whether he would go to Triple A.It depends on the situation, he said.Podsednik would be contractually obligated to go to Triple A unless he retired or the team for some reason released him from his commitment.Pierres contract stated that he make the 40-man roster by Friday or be released. The three-time stolen base champ seemed to be a favorite to make the club all along as the Phillies were looking to add speed to their bench. The team also likes Pierres ability to put the ball in play. He had 178 hits with the Chicago White Sox last season, 26 more than any Phillie.Pierre went 2 for 2 in Thursdays game to improve his spring average to .313 (15 for 48).Pierre, 34, was not available for comment.When I do lineups, there are some positions I like Pierre in, manager Charlie Manuel said. Hes done a lot of things in his career. Hell stay ready and he works his butt off. He wants to play. However I want to use him, I feel hes a fit.Pierre is scheduled to bat leadoff for the Phillies in Friday nights game against the Yankees in Tampa. That will allow Manuel to use Jimmy Rollins in the middle of a batting order weakened by the losses of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.Here is that lineup:Juan Pierre LFShane Victorino CFJimmy Rollins SSJim Thome DHHunter Pence RFPlacido Polanco 3BTy Wigginton 1BCarlos Ruiz CFreddy Galvis 2BThe Phillies will use a host of relief pitchers in the game. Antonio Bastardo will start against Michael Pineda.
E-mail Jim Salisbury at jsalisbury@comcastsportsnet.com.

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