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updated: 7/1/2011 6:31 PM

Much-maligned Pierre suddenly red-hot

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  • Juan Pierre hits a two-run triple during the four-run seventh against the Cubs Friday.

       Juan Pierre hits a two-run triple during the four-run seventh against the Cubs Friday.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

 
 

Memo to just about every White Sox fan in existence: It's time to find another player to tear apart.

Actually, it's just time to subtract one -- Juan Pierre. Adam Dunn and Alex Rios are still available.

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For as bad as that duo has been through the first half of the season, Pierre still seemed to be taking the bulk of the blame for the White Sox' disappointing start.

It looks like those days are over.

"I'm happy for him because earlier a couple of weeks ago there was a whole bunch of, 'We should get rid of him' and this or that," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "As far as that goes, (Pierre's) as good as they come as far as a steadying force. Him and (Paul) Konerko are probably the two best guys I've been around as far as calm, work their tails off and be ready to play every day."

Pierre has been the White Sox' regular left fielder from Opening Day, but his overall game was shaky and his batting average dipped to .248 last Friday after an 0-for-6 showing against the Nationals at U.S. Cellular Field.

The 33-year-old outfielder was on the bench the next day, and speculation that Pierre was about to be replaced by minor-league standout Dayan Viciedo began to accelerate.

Guess what?

Pierre has taken a negative situation and turned it into a huge positive.

"I just put in the work, man," Pierre said after his 2-run triple lifted the Sox to a 6-4 win over the Cubs on Friday at Wrigley Field. "I've been doing this for a while, and when you do this for a while, you tend not to panic. My faith is in God and I trust in him. Whether it's good or bad, I know it's going to work out."

Since going hitless in 6 at-bats against Washington, Pierre has been on a roll. Not only is he 10-for-23 with 6 RBI in his last five games, he came through with huge hits on Thursday at Colorado and Friday at Wrigley.

Against the Rockies, Pierre tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning and his 2-run single in the 10th carried the White Sox to a 6-4 win.

On Friday, Pierre's 2-run triple into the right-field corner with one out in the seventh inning capped another 6-4 win.

In just one week, Pierre has boosted his batting average from .248 to .262.

Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has been defending Pierre all along, so he's not surprised by the recent turn.

"Now everyone loves Juan Pierre for the last two days," Guillen said. "(Bleep). I know Juan is a good player. Juan will come up, not because he won the last two games for us and he's in the lineup. He's in the lineup because I have faith in him. I think he can do this.

"He's a veteran player. Maybe he'll be 0-for-100 in the next 20 games. I don't care. He's playing. I'm happy he comes through. I'm happy he's doing what he's doing because he can do it. He will continue to do it because when you work hard and work every day and take pride in what you do, good things happen to you, and that's what Juan Pierre does."

Pierre is far from the perfect player, the perfect leadoff hitter. But when he gets it going, he should be good enough to help the White Sox follow suit.

"I appreciate Ozzie saying he had my back or what not," Pierre said. "I've been benched before, I've been booed, I've been batted ninth, I dropped balls. I've done all this stuff in my career. This stuff doesn't shake me when I get the boos or the media talks bad about me.

"In my career, if I don't play well, I don't play. That's the course over my years of playing. I continue to get my work. I'm doing the same thing preparing. It's been going good lately, but I know how it goes, if I go 0-for-8, everyone will say I'm bad again. I take it for what it's worth and work hard and play the game the right way."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

• Follow Scot's Sox reports via Twitter@scotgregor, and join the conversation with other White Sox fans on our baseball blog, Chicago's Inside Pitch, at dailyherald.com.

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