Saturday, April 01, 2006

Juan Pierre's Struggles Recall His '05 Decline

It seemed like such a good thing to do at the time, that idea of bringing speedster Juan Pierre and his .350 daytime batting average to the Cubs and the team's day-game ladened schedule. But Pierre's poor spring, batting only .217 with two stolen bases in 70 AB, recalls that he has been in a decline for a full year now. Though Pierre stole 57 bases last year, he would have stolen many more if only he could have stolen first base. Pierre's struggles at the plate were so pronounced that Florida manager Jack McKeon dropped Pierre from leadoff to the No. 7 spot in the batting order, as Pierre's average fell 50 points from .326 in '04 to a respectable but hardly spectacular .276 in '05. Still, at 28 it's hard to imagine Pierre would allow himself to decline into just another contact hitter who depends solely on speed for his production.