CLEARWATER, Fla. — Juan Pierre appeared in 158 games and batted 711 times in 2011 with the Chicago White Sox, his 12th year in the majors, but came to Phillies camp never completely assured of a job.
On Thursday, he finally was.
Pierre's contract was added to the Phillies' 40-man roster, meaning the 34-year-old outfielder will be lined up on the first-base line with the rest of the team on opening day in Pittsburgh.
The Phillies are now on the hook for his entire $800,000 salary in 2012.
"We definitely feel like Juan can help us," Charlie Manuel said.
Pierre was engaged in competition with Scott Podsednik for a role as the team's fifth outfielders. Both players have very similar skill sets. Both are lefthanded batters. And both have had decent springs, although Podsednik has looked better at times.
But Pierre spent the entire 2011 season in the majors while Podsednik languished in the minors with foot injuries. Plus, Pierre could ask for his release Friday if he wasn't added to the roster while Podsednik is contractually obligated to accept a minor-league assignment.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Pierre's addition does not preclude Podsednik from winning a job, but Podsednik cast doubt upon that idea when asked about his chances.
"No," Podsednik said. "No they're not looking too good."
Podsednik, 36, said it "depends on the situation" as to whether he'd accept the assignment to triple-A Lehigh Valley. His only other option is retirement unless the Phillies grant his release. Podsednik has hit .347 (17 for 49) and stolen five bases without being caught this spring.
Pierre had two hits and a stolen base in Thursday's 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay, but the decision appears to have been made before then. Pierre is hitting .312 (15 for 48) and is 3 for 6 in stolen base attempts this spring.
Manuel insinuated Pierre could often land in his starting lineup.
"When I do my lineups, there are positions there where I like Pierre," Manuel said. "... Pierre has done a lot of things. He knows all about the game. He's going to stay ready. He works his butt off. He comes to the ballpark early. He wants to play. However we want to use him, I feel like he fits that."
The Phillies have not yet made a decision on how many pitchers they will carry north. If it's 11, that leaves two bench spots for the triumvirate of Pete Orr, Hector Luna and Podsednik.
But the Phillies are also scanning the market for upgrades as other teams make cuts.
Contact Matt Gelb at firstname.lastname@example.org or @magelb on Twitter.