Indy Indians Preview: Steve Pearce and Doug Bernier– And Moss

June got even better for the Florida native. �He had two homers on June 9th in Buffalo, and went 3-for-3 on June 17th, and overall hit .323 with 6 homers and 16 RBI for the month. �Pearce was called up to the Pirates on June 20th, but struggled at the plate there. �In 9 games, he hit .083 with one double, and he was sent back to Indianapolis on July 9th. �He wasn’t in Indy for long, though — played in just 10 games and hit .342 with 2 more homers and 11 RBI. �That got him a ticket back to Pittsburgh on July 23rd, and he stayed there for the rest of the season. �Overall, Pearce hit a solid .286 while with the Indians, with 18 doubles, 13 home runs and 54 RBI in 77 days. �He did not do as well for the Pirates, though. �Pearce was told he’d be getting regular time at first base, and when he did, he hit .254 in August, but slipped to .120 in September. �By then, he was no longer the regular first baseman. �He finished the season with a .206 average,�13 doubles, 4 home runs, and 16 RBI in a total of 60 games for the Pirates.

Pearce remained on the 40-man roster throughout the winter, and reported to spring training with a chance to make the major league team as a first base/outfield bench player. �He got into 25 Grapefruit League games with the Pirates, and hit 3 homers with 9 RBI, but only a .195 batting average. �He was kept with the major league team up until the last minute, mostly due to the rules about when players optioned to the minors can be recalled. �Pearce has this option year left, which also factored into the Pirates’ decision. �He will begin the 2010 season with Indianapolis, as he tries to hit well enough to earn a trip back to Pittsburgh. �Pearce’s big problem is that the outfield in Pittsburgh is already crowded, and they’ve already committed to Jeff Clement at first base, so that doesn’t leave much room for a guy who isn’t hitting well. �Pearce is in danger of being removed from the 40-man roster if a space is needed. �He’ll turn 27 years old next week, and his time is running out to prove that 2007 was not a fluke.

Doug Bernier is an infielder who was signed as a free agent in January. �The 29-year-old California native played for 7 seasons in the Rockies’ organization, including 2007 and 2008 at the AAA level in Colorado Springs. �His best season was 2007, when he hit .310 with 2 homers and 27 RBI. �Bernier also had two games with the Rockies in 2008, going 0-for-4 at the plate. �Bernier signed a minor league contract with the Yankees for 2009, and was assigned to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he did not hit well — just .181 with 20 RBI in 79 games. �The Pirates invited him to major league camp for spring training, where he got into 10 Grapefruit League games, and went 1-for-11 at the plate, with 2 walks and 2 RBI. �Bernier was reassigned to minor league camp on March 19th, and he will probably begin the season in Indianapolis. �He can play any of the infield positions, though he has mostly played in the middle infield. �He has also played a couple of games in the outfield in the past few seasons, so he will be a versatile addition to the Indians’ roster.

Addendum: �Brandon Moss has cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Indianapolis, where he will join the outfield. �Moss came to the Pirates from the Red Sox in the 2008 trade for Jason Bay. �After joining the Pirates, Moss played both corner outfield positions (25 games in left and 18 in right) and committed only one error. �He had been hitting .295 in 34 games for the Red Sox and .282 at AAA Pawtucket, but with the Pirates, he slumped to .222, with 6 homers and 23 RBI, particularly having more trouble in September. �Then it was discovered that he had a cartilage problem in his knee, and he had surgery to correct the problem. �The surgery turned out to not be as big as initially expected, so Moss was able to return for spring training in 2009, only to miss time due to a wrist injury. �Still, he was able to start the�2009 season in the Pirates’ right field. �His hitting was slow in April, when he hit .203. � Moss got hot in the second half of May, and by the end of the month, had boosted his average to .262. �Then Garrett Jones was promoted and starting hitting home runs all over the place, and Moss suddenly had a lot less playing time over the next few months. �His average was at .268 at the end of June, .250 at the end of July, and .243 at the end of August. �Moss did see a little more playing time in September, when Steve Pearce was struggling, but he still was not hitting. �He finished the season with a .236 average, 20 doubles, 7 homers, and 41 RBI.

In spring training, Moss got into 19 Grapefruit League games, and had a disappointing time at the plate — only 3 hits, all singles, in 37 at-bats, with no RBI, 4 walks, and 19 strikeouts. �When the Pirates claimed pitcher Hayden Penn off waivers and needed to make room on the 40-man roster, Moss was the odd man out who was removed from the roster and designated for assignment.