Pie gearing for left field competition

SARASOTA, Fla. - Derrek Lee hit in the indoor cage today.

Felix Pie played catch this morning with new teammate Vladimir Guerrero, the future Hall of Famer who could cost him the starting job in left field.

No hard feelings, I suppose.

Luke Scott is expected to play left field while Guerrero serves as the full-time designated hitter. Pie, who set career highs last year in average (.274), hits (79), runs (39), doubles (15), triples (five) and RBIs (31), might have to settle for a reserve role.

For that to happen, he’s first got to make the club

“My mind’s focused on doing my job and playing hard. That’s the thing I can control. The manager’s going to make that decision,” he said.

“For me, I’m not mad. I’m happy Guerrero’s here. I know he can help the team win, but I know I have to do my job to get the starting job in left field and that’s what I’m going to try to do. The manager will make the decision on who’s going to start in left field.”

Pie struggled to accept being benched two years ago, which he freely admits.

“I’m came here to start every day in left field. Something happened and some guy (Nolan Reimold) plays more than me. Now, I feel like I’m ready to play every day,” said Pie, who started working out in Bradenton on Jan. 7.

“If the manager thinks I’m going to be on the bench and play some days in left, that’s his decision. I can’t control that. All I can control is working hard and doing my job when they put me on the field to play.”

He’ll also dress a few lockers away from Guerrero and play catch with him. Pie never stopped talking the entire time they were long-tossing in the morning. It was constant animated chatter.

No hard feelings.

“I like him a lot,” Pie said. “He’s my friend, too. Like I said, I’m happy that he’s here.”

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