Pierre may have edge for fifth outfield spot

Pierre may have edge for fifth outfield spot

Pierre may have edge for fifth outfield spot
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Opening Day is less than two weeks away, and as much as the infield situation is unsettled because of injuries the Phillies still have decisions to make in the outfield.

Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix are locks to make the team, but the Phillies need another outfielder with Mayberry expected to see time at first base while Ryan Howard is on the disabled list.

There are three candidates for the fifth job: Juan Pierre, Scott Podsednik and Luis Montanez.

Pierre could have the inside track. He is hitting just .257 (9-for-35), but can ask for his release if he is not on the big league roster by March 31. That is important because teams like to hold onto their inventory. Podsednik, who is hitting .385 (15-for-39), and Montanez, who is hitting .371 (13-for-35), cannot ask for their releases until June 1, which could play into Pierre's favor.

"They're battling. We're still watching," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "We're going to try to take the best 25 guys."

The Phillies could use another right-handed bat for the bench. Montanez has opened some eyes this camp, so if the Phillies carry just 11 pitchers he could possibly make the roster.

"In a perfect world, we'd like to have a little bit more balance, but we could probably go with the guys we have," said Amaro, asked about the need for another right-handed bat. "We need to figure out the extra outfield situation. We've got some question marks. These guys will show us who's ready."